I am grateful to Jamie Iredell, author of The Book of Freaks, for tagging me in “The Next Big Thing” blog series, wherein authors answer ten questions about their current works-in-progress and then tag other authors to participate. I’ll do my best…
My 20 Favorite Albums of 2012
“We like lists because we don’t want to die.” — Umberto Eco
Since I, too, don’t want to die, I thought I’d make my version of the best albums of the year. Alas, so many pleasing and disquieting tunes appeared in 2012, I couldn’t possibly include all of the ones I enjoyed. For instance, no room for the new Swans album, the new Godspeed album, Frank Ocean, Scott Walker, Grimes, Raime, Caretaker, etc.
In terms of my listening habits, I spend a lot of time searching for and listening to older and more obscure material (for examples, check out Madrotter-Treasure-Hunt or Bodega Pop or Mutant Sounds, etc.), so I probably don’t listen to as much new music as do many other people. And my list obviously reveals my personal biases toward (mostly) experimental soundscapes of one type of another.
In terms of arrangement, I’ve purposefully mixed up the order, so you’ll never know which is my #20 and which is my #1. Also one album is absent, so there’s technically only 19 albums on this list.
If you click on the artist’s name/album title you can get the album or listen to samples.
The Year’s End
My remix of Pirandello’s 6 Characters in Search of an Author appears in the latest edition of The Coming Envelope, which is BookThug’s beautiful letterpress publication of experimental prose fiction edited and designed by Malcolm Sutton.
Over at HTMLGIANT, I offered holiday gift recommendations for recently published works of Fiction, Nonfiction, and Poetry.
Over at The Paris Review Daily, I interviewed Kate Zambreno about her new book Heroines.
Over at The Brooklyn Rail, the three of us did an interview about ONE.
Over at Fanzine, critic Laura Carter reviews ONE, and declares “There is beautiful language here.”
And the great Dennis Cooper includes both ONE and Bright Stupid Confetti on his list of favorite music, fiction, poetry, film, art & internet of 2012.
My Collaboration with Blake Butler & Vanessa Place Is Now Available!!!
I am pleased to announce the release of ONE (my collaboration with Blake Butler & Vanessa Place) now available from Roof Books. It’s an experiment wherein Blake wrote the exterior perspective and Vanessa wrote the interior perspective; then I assembled the two into ONE.
Here’s the jacket copy:
From the room inside the room, from the house inside the house, memories of a one-legged father and various acts of jurisprudence haunt the mysterious creature who writhes in somatic isolation from one waking nightmare to another. Here, two writers have produced textual bodies: one speaking for the interior and the other describing the exterior, while a third writer has assembled these two bodies into a single grotesque symphony of chimerical language. A hitherto unprecedented collaborative experiment, ONE defies categorization and heralds a new approach to exploring the boundaries of authorship and narrative.
And here’s the blurb from Dennis Cooper:
In theory or even usually, three contemporary majors like Butler, Higgs, and Place interlocking works inside a single book would leave users fannishly dissecting more than reading, but One is something way else. It’s as sublimely integrated as any single-minded novel I can think of, but with this absolutely crazy mega-wattage. I.e., not since Ashbery and Schuyler co-made A Nest of Ninnies, but, whoa, even more so.
You can get it on Amazon.
At Barnes and Noble.
Or through Small Press Distribution.
If you are interested in reviewing it or conducting an interview, please email me!
Horror Film Friday, the first five weeks
This semester I’m teaching a literature course called “Experiments in 21st Century Horror.” It meets M/W/F. To enrich the readings and discussions, I devote the Friday class to watching a short film. We just finished week five, so I thought I’d catalog the films we’ve screened so far.
As the reading list might suggest, I’m not interested in reifying the obvious. Horror, for me, is not a given genre that exists for us to study. Rather, it is a complex and complicated category for us to create. Thus, one of the central concerns of the course revolves around mapping horror’s boundaries, investigating it’s limits and testing it’s scope.
To begin the process of articulating the category of horror, we’ve looked at four critical approaches: “Absolutely Too Much” by Simon Critchley, “The Critique of Pure Horror” by Jason Zinoman, “The Definition of Horror” by Noël Carroll, and “Monster Culture (Seven Theses)” by Jeffrey Jerome Cohen. These four essays provide a nice range of perspectives for us to construct a well-informed critical conversation into which we might situate ourselves. They also help to offer a context for considering the films that follow. A few of the salient ideas arising from these readings, which seem worth considering include: the relationship between “art horror” and “natural horror,” the necessity (or lack of necessity) of monsters to be supernatural, the relationship between horror and childhood, the role of “spectacle horror,” the relationship between audience and characters, the relationship between form and content, the affect of shock and disgust, and the power of excess. Just to name a few.
Directed by Ben Rivers
Directed by Peter Tscherkassky
Directed by David Lynch
Directed by Frans Zwartjes
Directed by Ryan Trecartin
Populating the Salon
These are the first two prints I bought to liven up my office on campus:
At the moment, the only thing distinguishing my cubicle as my cubicle rather than an empty cubicle is a stack of the newly released Andy Warhol Soup Cans, a wedding photo, a promo flier for my first book, and the honorific A.B.D. statue my officemates bestowed upon me after I passed my qualifying exams. It will be nice to finally bring art into the space.