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Hearsay Archive:

Here we store old Hearsay items (including their discussion links). You don't have to register or sign in for discussions, you can just click the "Post a new message" button and go.

Some of the links are likely to rot over time. Sorry about that, but our fridge isn't working.
2003: August September October November December
2004: January February March April May June

February 2004:

... ...


Dale Hanging Up the Gloves
Peck's tired of being called names. (discuss)

Sometimes You Just Can't Look Away
As much as I swore I would try to not post on Sylvia and Ted, I just couldn't help but look when the headline was "I paid for the gas that killed Sylvia Plath." (discuss

Enter the Exotic World of Typewriter Porn
Oh yeah, there's other stuff about the history of the typewriter or something. Typewriter porn! (Probably not worksafe.) (LOL* Fleshbot) (discuss)

Better than Ezra
Finally in the Library of America** series. (discuss)

A Ghost in the Machine
Text is now infinitely malleable.** So says you. I can barely write a thing! (discuss)

Another Bunch of Small Town American Yokels Lacking Taste, Foresight, and  Education...
Poor Judy Blume. 30 Years later and still fighting the same battles. Is there no rest? (discuss)

Why Are the Characters' Eyes about 3/8ths of Their Face?
And other mysteries of the blue-haired, pedophilic land of Anime/Manga. (Note: I didn't read all this, so I hope it's good.) (discuss)

"If you want to understand the Matrix trilogy, think of it as a capsule history of baby boom rock. The original Matrix is a three-chord riff of a movie: a simple, familiar idea -- "What if reality is a great big fake?" -- amplified and transformed into an irresistible hook. The Matrix Reloaded is a 1970s concept album: sprawling, pretentious, and ultimately incoherent, but brimming with ideas and virtuoso displays. And The Matrix: Revolutions is an over-the-hill pop star recycling someone else’s material -- the sort of music you’d hear on a Michelob commercial, circa 1987."
"Call it the demiurge cycle, after the Gnostic notion that our world is governed by a mad ersatz God." 'Nuff said? (discuss)

Elsewhere a Disenchanted Goth Throws Down Her Powder Puff and Black Lipstick, Crying into the Night:
You betrayed me, Anne!!! I'm going back to school to become a lawyer! (discuss)

World's Worst Still Producing - Just like World's Best... McGonagall still churing 'em out. (discuss)


Ishrad Wisely Takes a Bodyguard...
The Trouble with Islam author has a fulltime bodyguard during her tour. (discuss)

"Prepackaged meals are generally inferior to home cooking. What about prepackaged anthologies?"
Best American - like being off shore and looking at the country through a powerful telescope. (discuss)

Art Theft, Poetry Style
Thief foiled in attempt to steal Russian poet Alexander Blok's papers (third item down). (discuss)

"People used to say if you threw a stone in Grafton Street you were sure to hit a poet"
Where's a stone when you need one? Joyce's house restored. (discuss)

AKA, donut shop poets' disease. (discuss)

Every Now and Then It's Good to Remind Ourselves What the Other Side Thinks
A conservative American's opinion on Dana Gioia and the NEA... I wonder if Gioia has seen this. His head might implode. (Hey, American Ninjas, can your conservatives ever write in anything but this over-the-top, silly rhetoric? I find it snicker-worthy that the site name is "intellectual conservative.") (discuss)

Tired of Wallpapering Your Room with Rejection Letters?
Now you can put them online. (LOL* Boing Boing) (discuss)

Don't Kill the Courier!
The X-Files will never look so authentic again... (LOL* Boing Boing) (discuss)


Writers' Trust Awards Shortlists Announced
Article and press release (in pdf). (discuss)

Lambda Literary Award Finalists Announced
There are more categories here than I've ever seen at any other award... (discuss) or (discuss)

Lingua Franca Freelancers Have a Powerful Ally Against the Bloodsucking Suits
Judge (not Juris) Prudence. (discuss)

When I Wrote the GREs, I Answered "B" to Every Question and Scored Higher Than Anyone Else I Knew
Ah, standardized testing. (LOL* Boing Boing) (discuss)

"The generation that grew up watching Japanese cartoons on television in the 1980s now reads manga, not Molière."
"If we did not have manga, a whole generation would have stayed in front of the television and never held a book in their hands," says Mr Glénat. "Better that they read manga than never learn to read at all." Ummmm...? (discuss)

More on Sappho
All we



                        review. (discuss)

I Am Not Well
Maud Newton points out that Joyce's "The Dead" is available online. I'm more partial to Barthelme's "Game" myself, especially given the times. (discuss)

Eudora Welty, Paparazza
Welty's pics of ol' Mississip. (discuss)

This oughta appeal to a few of the gruffer, more manly ninjas out there. (discuss)

In Keeping with the New Tradition of Keeping Tabs on "The Others..."
What are those pesky Christians up to lately? Crusades? Inquisitions? Witch burning? Bookselling? (discuss)


Literature on Trial in Iran
Very interesting piece on Azar Nafisi, author of Reading Lolita in Tehran. (LOL* Elegant Variation) (discuss)

Luke... Lend Me Your Hand
People can quote Star Wars easier than Shakespeare. Well, duh. (Of course, what they're not telling you is that their sample was randomly selected at three a.m. from a line up at a night falafel stand outside a trendy nightclub.) (discuss

"I dream of seeing the Poetry Foundation built and operated like a well-run company."
Um,** maybe get rid of the poetry** then? (discuss)

Oprah - The Literary Matrix's Agent Smith
Oprah pseudopod sighted off British Coast. Tony Blair, seeing to late the terror his lube-fuelled carousing has brought upon his people, turns to Japan - desperately seeking help from Godzilla, or maybe Mothra. (discuss)

File This Under: Tell Me About It
There's poetry in baby-talk. "What you can see happening is the mother adjusting the pitch and choice of language to attune with the baby. So when the baby's attention wanders, it's a strategy to get the baby's attention back again." Is this the origin of the dreaded "poet voice?" (discuss)

Milosz on the Future of Europe and Poetry
Could you imagine this here? He's being interviewed like a philosopher/statesman. (discuss)

This Online Novel Is Old, But I Just Discovered It
Geoff Ryman's 253 (LOL* Neil Gaiman) (discuss)

Like Oasis With The Beatles...
It's my considered opinion that there are lesser talents that could have been ripped off - er-hem - heavily borrowed from. (discuss)

Funny Haha
Except for the second last one which might just be funny cause it's true. I'm comin' for ya, Meg!! (LOL* Maud) (discuss)


Joyce's Ulysses Leads Students to Porn
Well, actually it was the profs, who justify it by saying: "Watching pornography in a classroom becomes a Brechtian experience, causing discomfort and alienation. Porn then reveals not just flesh, but also its formal conventions, its repetitive narratives, its tableaux of power, its cold ideologies, its descent into bathos." Uh huh. (discuss)

A N Wilson
Proust cultist. (discuss)

Cory Doctorow When Will You Learn?
You don't make friends by proving people wrong! Way to go, man (P.S. my wife had a crush on you when you two were eleven and attending summer camp.) (discuss)

Upward Mobility
Gluck (pronounced Glick, don't forget) is taking a big step up. Hm. (discuss

Oodles of Poodles
The Danforth Review reviews Stuart Ross's Hey, Crumbling Balcony, which has been getting some attention on our boards. (discuss)

Queer Eye for the Young Guy
You know queer is becoming mainstream when kids are writing about it. (discuss)

Charlie Brown, existentialist. (discuss)


Happy Birthday, Silas!

In my Sisyphean struggle to find online tidbits to feed you lit vultures, I occasionally come across interesting things that aren't book related. I've decided to post them at irregular intervals in short article form on my website. (discuss)

Hahahahaha! Hahahahaha! Aaahahahahaha! (In case you don't have my home under surveillance, I am pointing at the screen as a I laugh uproariously - much like one would laugh at the kid whose pants fell down while he was carrying the lunch tray back to his table (not that it was his fault, you see, he had weak drawstrings and I'd recently lost a lot of weight and it really really hurt me when ... never mind.)) (discuss)

"I knew from experience that making six copies of the book at Kinko's would cost seven million dollars."
David Rees discusses the history of My Fighting Technique is Unstoppable. (LOL* Boing Boing) (discuss)

"Boiling jumps to the eyes. One strolls in a bookshop devoted to the ninth art, even in a chain specialized in the books, the reviews and the candlesticks, is enough besides to be convinced some."
A delightfully Google-translated article on Quebecois comics. (LOL* Sequential) (discuss)

"New" Language
Siberian language on the brink of extinct "discovered" by Western scholars (ie, stumbled across). Most fluent in it are over 50. (LOL* Languagehat via Maud) (discuss

Parrot Has Greater Vocabulary than Average Canadian Poet - Sure to be "Last Standing" After CBC Poetry Face-Off (snicker ... snort ... hehehe ... "full contact" ... woo! Rich!)
Well, last perching. But rest assured - without arms he can't properly accentuate his poet voice or stuff an envelope... or can he? (discuss)


I've Really, Really Been Trying to Not Post About This...
But this is a good synopsis of the NYT Book Review drama so far. (discuss)

Motion Wants to Halt Flow of Art
From the British Kingdom... (Particularly pointed seems to me the last line of this article... BBC editorializing?) (discuss)

"It's not enough for a Canadian poet with a Jewish background to write good poems. He or she has to survive comparison to Leonard Cohen, A.M. Klein and Irving Layton. A novelist or polemicist has to walk in the shadow of Mordecai Richler."
The plight of the Montreal Jew. (discuss)

Bradbury on What Could Have Been
50 years ago, it was suggested to ol' Ray that he write a sequel to Farenheit 451 in which all the memorized books get rewritten and come out all garbled. Would that he had. (From PFW) (discuss)

Books Alive is Back in Australia
Oz's largest literary promotion will do just about anything to get people reading, including $5 reads. (From Literary Saloon) (discuss)

We Get What We Deserve
Richard Ford on football. (discuss)

Holy Crap!
It's the column of Pete's dreams! How did we not find this before? (discuss)

Something Important is Happening at York University? Who knew?
Not really book related, but this bit on how we started, as a species, to think, is interesting.. (Hey, btw, don't you have to actually publish something in 40 years to keep tenure?) (discuss)

Grisham Comments on His Books
[Ed. note: 252 instances of "Duuuh..." have been removed from this article.] (discuss)


PWAC Takes the Gloves Off
The Periodical Writers' Association provides Paul Martin's new government with a wish list to avert a "shameful cultural emergency." (discuss)

Can Soft Skull Press Do Anything Wrong?
They've snagged about 20 thousand famous authors to write lyrics for a Brooklyn-based rock band. I love these guys. Love 'em. Especially that sexy bastard Richard Nash. (From Maud) (discuss)

Marian Engel's Writing was Garbage
I mean, it was in the garbage. But it's not now. (discuss)

Operation Books
Thousands of books taken into the north. (discuss)

It's Not Funny Because It's True
The other day I made a joke about journalists being the next to lose their jobs to overseas outsourcing*... (From Maud) (discuss)

Not Sure What to Call the Offspring of an Eel?
The Beastly Garden or Wordy Delights has the answer. (From Languagehat) (discuss)

Ah, Proust...
I once won a gaudy shirt because I hadn't read Proust. I still have the shirt and I still haven't read Proust. (discuss)

Reading Iris
See, I want to read and like Iris Murdoch, but it's kind of like swimming in toffee for me. (discuss)

Little Duck's Big Night Out
With the dealer incident behind him, Little Duck cuts a line on the mirror and stares at his pallid reflection, the thin strip of snow bisecting his face. Outside the club's music thumps just like it always has. Next to him Little Hen is slumped against a garbage can, one stocking slid down her bony leg. "So this is my life," thinks Little Duck as he bends to snort the line through his bill. (discuss)



Doyle Putting the Boots to Joyce
Seems like Roddy's biting the hand that feeds him, eh? And a response. (discuss)

Less is Jolly Well More
The small presses of England. (discuss)

Hear Hear
The new Internet-First publishing programme at Cornell publishes books online for free. No copyright, no fee, just info for the world. Positively utopian. (discuss)

Speaking of...
E-books are really almost here. No really! Swear this time. (I for one will buy one once the prices come down -- if just to carry around a few hundred reference texts with searchable capability... Imagine how it will revolutionize the life of the academic. I may get speak to my wife again!) (discuss)

"Rather than God blessing America, God wants to give America homework."
Meet Jun Nagai, Japanese translator of the blockbusters. (From Golden Rule Jones) (discuss)

Maybe This Will Balance Out All the Other Things I'm Doing...
"How spending 10 minutes a day with a simple pen and paper can dramatically boost your health." Um, how come I sometimes feel like it's killing me then? (discuss

Grendel? I Mean, I Can Understand Banning Where's Waldo, But Grendel?
The Forbidden Library is a nice little resource on banned books. (From Bookslut) (discuss)

Ted Hughes Could Fill a Room
But it seems he's having trouble filling a museum. (discuss)

Sci-Fi OED
Now there's an OED for sci-fi geeks! (From SciFi Weekly) (discuss)

Light a Sparkler
It's Pushkin day! (discuss)

Paris in April
Or maybe a fall launch. Gak. Blagg! Rolf! (From Bookslut) (discuss)


Anne Carson Stole My Girlfriend...
And Slate thinks that's just fine. (discuss)

...But I Found a New One at Harvard
Harvard approves H-Bomb: a student sex mag. (discuss)

My Money's on Horatio
Figuring the odds in Hamlet. (From Kitabkhana) (discuss)

Wiebe on the North
A profile of said Rudy. (From PFW) (discuss

A Pictorial History of Type
Cool little site for the unemployed to waste their time on. (From Maud) (discuss)

Spoken word duo "must surprise some new listeners who might think poets are only finger-snapping turtleneck-wearers. Floetry's art is rather a music of upbeat and joyous hip-hop and soul." (discuss)

We Should Really Change Our Name to Dictionaryninja
It's the Dictionary of Newfoundland English! (From Languagehat) (discuss)

More Boobs, Please
AL Kennedy on watching television. (discuss)


The Walrus Gets a New Editor...
So last month several sources revealed to Bookninja that The Walrus fired its entire in-house copy editing staff. The reason cited was "financial difficulties." Now a widely circulated press release says David Berlin, the "outgoing" editor famous for inappropriate quips about the WTC and working class Joes, is leaving and publishing partner Ken Alexander is citing "health reasons." (This, like "to pursue other projects," smacks of industry code, to me.) If this is all true, I'm actually curious to see where the mag will go. (discuss)

Journalists Portrayed as Ass-wipes
World rocked to molten foundation, sun black as sack-cloth.* (discuss)

Angelou Gets Another Standing Ovation
It makes me wonder how she feels when she doesn't. (P.S. The real news here is that all those clapping people paid between $30 and $70 to see her. Makes passing the hat seem not so bad, eh?) (discuss)

RIP Jasper
Comic artist Seth on the passing of James Simpkins. (discuss)

Nazi Porn
Who wouldn't want to publish it? Um... (discuss)

CanLit Journals
Get help from technology (From PFW). Note: not letterpress. (discuss)

The Best Combo Review Ever
Lords of Chaos: The Bloody Rise of the Satanic Metal Underground and David Frum and Richard Perle's An End to Evil: How to Win the War on Terror. (From Snarkout) (discuss)

Stars and Knights
Playwright upset that theatre, music and film are judged out of five stars (in the Guardian) while books are not. (discuss)

Because God Knows They Won't Learn About it in the Schoolyard (or the Back of a Station Wagon in About Six Years...)
A Hallmark Sales Day, er, Valentine's Day display at a bookstore in the US contained a book called Wild Sex (is this the one?). Police grew concerned when they noticed a couple of 8-year-olds flipping through it. Presumably the cops had been staking out the display for some time. (discuss)

Ah, Dignity...
Thy name is Lord Archer. (discuss)


New Cartoon - Litterati
We're starting a new feature here at Bookninja - a cartoon lampooning the lit scene and its denizens. Hope you enjoy. (discuss)

It's That Time of the Year Again
If you're a Canadian, don't forget to register with the PLRC. (discuss)

A Peak into the Future - And the 2092 Book of the Year is A Romantic History of Crack
Absinthe is just like so cool man. Especially when you don't have to watch people dying from it in a roach-infested asylum. (discuss)

It's About Time Someone Told All Those Joyce Nuts to Shut Up
I just didn't think it would be the Joyce family. (From Boing Boing) (discuss)

Shakespeare the Family Guy
New book doesn't give too much new on Shakespeare, but plenty about his family. (discuss)

Bookstore Tourism
Why does this make me think of zoos? (discuss)

Ever Heard of a Cartoonist Named Crumb?
Not this one,* you haven't. (discuss)

Word Menu
Interesting (and cheap!) software re-words the reference dictionary. (From PFW) (discuss)

"There is nothing that occurs in the spectrum of human experience that cannot be explained or detailed through the use of language; all beliefs, desires, intentions, and concepts are ultimately linguistic in nature."
"It is through our abilities of language that we formulate concepts; the concepts were not there before the language." Yes, yes, it's true. My eyes and ass weren't sore from trying to read this until I complained to my wife, "Hey, Ailsa, my ass and eyes are sore from trying to read this." (discuss)

My work life in a nutshell.


Another Bounty on Rushdie
This has got to suck. Even the more insignificant extremist groups are getting in on the action. What must it be like to live with that moment always just around the corner? It's especially humane of them to include his family in the offer of $100,000. (discuss)

Canada Reads
I wish. No, it's just a contest. (discuss)

"Detractors dismiss this as the 'Dead White Male' curriculum. But in an academic world increasingly geared to narrow specializations and job training, this small corner of a sprawling university dares to be different."
Great books at Concordia. (discuss)

This Should Put an End to the Question of Whether or Not Scotland is a Country
Meet Edwin Morgan, Scotland's first national poet. (discuss)

Fiction Sales Are Down, KidLit Sales Are Up
And the new trend is dead people. That's it, my next book is going to be about a dead kids. Oh, wait. (From Bookslut) (discuss)

Octavia Butler Profiled
"This solitary person who readily admits 'writing is the only thing I ever cared about' found herself battling worries that 'maybe I cannot write anymore."' (discuss)

Obligatory Faulkner Post
It seems like there's about one a month. Funny how often they're from Thuh Sowth! (discuss)

Newsflash: Writing for TV Sucks
What we have here is an example of cause and effect! (discuss)

Doesn't This Suck by It's Very Nature?
The MFA programme at Columbia is under fire -- from it's own students. (discuss)

Sullivan Entertainment: Class Act
Ooo, wait. Can I get sued for that? (discuss)


More coming late tonight. Check out the new toons until then.

Ah, Adjective, My Unnecessary Nemesis
Has your time come again? (discuss)

"I spent half the article saying how much I admire Amis and how good a writer he is, but no one pays attention to that bit"
Tibor Fischer speaks out about the fall of Communism and Martin Amis. (discuss)

And Here I Wasted My Puberty With Penthouse and Playboy
I should have been reading Asimov's Science Fiction magazine. (From Boing Boing) (discuss)


Happy Anniversary, A! We've beaten the odds and are on our way to sharing a suite in a nursing home!

Once Again, the Short Story Goes Down in Canada
Alice Munro is voted off Canada Reads. (discuss)

"To Americans, a bestseller in Canada is like a tree falling in the forest. Unless it's written by Margaret Atwood, they don't hear it and it doesn't exist."
This is news only to writers and readers outside Canada, I think. (discuss)

"...the only people who have anything to worry about are terrorists..."
Isn't this one of the seven signs? (discuss)

And People Say the Semicolon Doesn't Matter
Apparently it does when gay marriage is at stake. (From Boing Boing) (discuss)

Squinting at the Present
Gibson on how he's not a prescient futurist (you know, that's what all prescient futurists say). (discuss)

The Heaney Centre for Poetry
And a bog people drop in centre (you can get yourself clean, you can have a good meal) (From PFW) (discuss)

We Don't Need No Stinking Poet Laureate
Some in Wales are arguing against following Scotland and appointing a poet laureate. They're all poets there, so who needs an "official" poet? (discuss)

Publishers Greedy, Say Greedy Retailers
Publishers are selling their wares direct through their various online presences. (discuss)

Isn't This How the Matrix Thing Got Started?
A robotic "librarian." If this ends up with me sleeping with Carrie-Anne Moss, then I don't really care what happens. The whole reality-is-sacred thing won't mean so much to me once I've moved beyond the realm of real possibility.... (discuss)


Maisonneuve Magazine Scores Dale Peck's Last Negative Review Ever
Maisonneuve, the mag that brought you world-exclusive excerpts from BHL's Who Killed Daniel Pearl has now scored the lead piece of criticism from Dale Peck's forthcoming book Hatchet Jobs - right out from under The New Republic. Peck skewers Sven Birkerts in a 10 page review, the beginning of which can be read here as an exclusive web excerpt (a teaser, really). You heard it here first because, frankly, we are in the bloodstream of this country like a pair of malignant spirochetes. (Plus, I am an editor there and am privy to the inner workings of this phenomenal factory of eclectic interest.) (discuss)

More Peck News
Peck's memoir survives a review. If it's good enough, no one should trash it "just because," but you know that eventually someone will. (From Maud) (discuss

Everything You Need to Know About Typewriters
Can be found at this site, including an illustrated history of typewriters. (discuss)

Authors Take Sides - On Iraq War
Barnes, Crace, Drabble, Gordimer, Guterson, le Carre, Pinter, Theroux - the list goes on. (discuss)

SF's Poetry Center Turns 50
And they're looking for money to protect the country's largest collection of poetry on tape. (discuss)

A brief history of Howl, which is also 50. (discuss)

Snowplough? Or Snowplow?
Stephen Henighan thinks Canadian authors  have a lot to learn about spelling. (discuss)

First Time Novelist, 71, Hits the Jackpot
This is such a nice story. And gives all of us hope. Except Pete who is devoid of human emotion. (discuss)

Cool site about science fiction inventions. (From Boing Boing) (discuss)


National Magazine Award for Poetry Reinstated!
Well, you did it, people. The outcry against the cancellation of the poetry award has lead to a NMAF turnabout. Read about it in our letters section. Congratulations to everyone who put effort into this. And congratulations to the NMAF Board and President Terry Sellwood for having the wisdom to listen to the community and the courage to revisit their initial decision.  (discuss)

Vanderhaeghe Scores a One Two Combination to Knock Out Competition in Final Seconds of Blood-Soaked Battle Royale! Munro, Proulx Lose Teeth!
Look at us Canajuns! We race poets as though they were NASCARs and throw fiction writers in a pit to battle to the death - all for our amusement! Who says America's got the lock on low brow? (discuss)

What About The Atlantic Monthly? Harper's? Maisonneuve?
Interesting discussion on the evolution of magazine covers. See also the piece on Nabokov and hypertext. (From Maud) (discuss)

More On Roddy and James
They're billing this as a tempest in a teapot* (at least both Doyle and Joyce can write). (discuss)

Imagine! People Caring Enough About Books in Canada to Ban Them!
Feb. 22-28 is Freedom to Read Week in Canada. Celebrate by freeing a book. Or just read about the books that have been banned in Canada (PDF link). (discuss)

Corporate Culture and Publishing 
An old but still relevant piece on the tension between culture and commerce. It's from the Culture of Publishing Journal, which unfortunately seems to be defunct now. (From The Elegant Variation) (discuss)

"High concept is really not a road to take with Chekhov, since his plays depend on a respect for the fluidity, perversity and subtlety of human personality. Any Chekhov production that works starts from the inside, not the outside."
Chekhov's Seagull a Drowning Cow.* (discuss)

Awwwww! (discuss)


Canada's Older, Less Interesting Dale Peck Gets His Spleen Served Up with a Side of Fava Beans and a Nice Chianti
Another critic known for strong opinions (the Globe's Fraser Sutherland) tears Solway a new hole. (Maybe he should have just taped up an existing one?) (discuss)

"While many couples finish each other's sentences, it takes a special closeness to be able to finish your partner's book as if he had written it himself."
Timothy Findley's last book finished by his partner William Whitehead. (discuss)

Books on Books - Yes!
A sloppily written review of what looks like an interesting book for bibliophiles. (discuss)

"These days we read biography partly because criticism has become so technical, and so politicised, that it isn't always conducive to imaginative pleasure."
It seems Baudelaire was often caught "knocking at the cellar door." (discuss)

"I think it’s true for all of us that the role of the poet is not fulfilling enough on a day-to-day basis - it’s not a full-time job"
"When my first novel came out and I was doing readings, one bookshop manager actually introduced me with the words: 'Here’s Simon Armitage - you probably know him as a poet, but now he’s an author.'" I can't write 'em that funny. (discuss)

Nabokov Museum Fallen on Hard Times
Something tells me I just really don't want to shake this "benefactor's" hand... (discuss)

Poet Blows England a Sweet Scottish Kiss
Morgan's first poem as Scotland's Makar poet is being heralded as a "clarion call" for a republic. (discuss)

August Kleinzahler
Profiled in the NYT.* (discuss)

Mr. Rogers'to Publish Two New Books
He'll be conducting a reading tour with VC Andrews and L. Ron Hubbard. Attending children are advised to get tetanus shots and rain slickers beforehand. (discuss)


Filthy Smut Peddlers Respond
Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine takes issue with being portrayed as pornographic. (From Bookslut) (discuss)

Clive Cussler Hauls Out the Big Guns to Deal with Hollywood
Hm. I didn't know you COULD ruin a Cussler novel, but you gotta admire his stones. (discuss)

Holy Crap! It Woiks!
PEN works. (discuss)

She Was a Female Crime Writer. Better Yet, She Was Gay. Better Yet, She Was Queer. Better Yet, She Was Conflicted
The Chronicle attempts to explain Patricia Highsmith's popularity. (discuss)

Alas, Poor Courier, I Knew You Well
Slate weighs in on the slow decline of Courier. (discuss)

"Some literary agents, who are scarcely superior to conmen, trade on these banal formulae, scattering their synopses/outlines across the publishing landscape like so many snake-oil salesmen. Forget books; in America, synopsis-mania has got so bad that there is already an annual prize for the best one."
The synopsis - Satan's playground. (discuss)

Getting an Agent
A practical primer. (From Maud via Boing Boing) (discuss)

RIP: Frederick Morgan
Longtime Hudson Review editor* dead at 81. (discuss)

"Best" American Poetry
National Book Critics Circles award nominees for poetry profiled. (discuss)

Rant v Poetry
An LA Times letter* regarding last week's post on Howl.* (discuss)

Whoopi hops on the celebrity author gravy train. Yah! (You know, this would be so much less offensive if I didn't know plenty of non-celebrity authors who were working shitty day jobs to compensate for not being famous.) (discuss)


In Praise of Used Book Stores
Okay, it's really in praise of City Lights in London, Ontario. (discuss)

And a Giant Robot with Dryer Tubing for Arms and Flashing LED Eyes Will Greet Patrons by Crushing Starbucks Cups Against Its Glass-Domed Forehead
Seattle has built the library of ... the present. It just seems futuristic because the rest of the world's libraries are stuck in the 1950s. Those Seattleites are like busy little bees. Wet, busy, little bees. (What else is there to do when it always looks like someone crapped in God's breakfast and you're hopped up on caffeine? The sound domes are really cool, though...) (discuss)

"If a French Canadian feminist is on the panel, avoid books by Mordecai Richler."
Zsuzsi Gartner presents a guide for future Canada Reads panelists. (discuss)

Surrealism "101"
Or should that be Surrealism "Flaming Black Spade Cutting Umbilical Cord"? (From Maud) (discuss

Filming Poetry
Welsh poetry gets a Hollywood treatment. (discuss)

Want a Bigger Unit?
Spammers read too, when not spreading disease. (discuss)

Books in 25 Words or Less
Some funny summaries in here. (From Bookslut) (discuss)


The Earth's Coolest Non-Existent Used Bookstore
Apollinaire's Bookshoppe has a nice new site from which to sell the books no one wants to buy. Please spend your money here. (I kind of miss the old, lo-tech site that looked like it was done in about 1994, but this really is much prettier...) (Thanks to DFB for the link.) (discuss)

Access Copyright: Superheroes
Bam! Zang! Piff! I love these guys. They just get in there and start swinging. It's like the doorstep of the Rox in Barrie on Friday night (they used to serve pitchers of ale for four bucks... God I could use a beer.) (From PFW) (discuss)

Gabriel García Márquez: Military Man
García Márquez's grandfather may get promoted to General today -- 60 years after he died. (discuss)

Sex and the City Prequels
I don't remember any blowjobs in Anne of Green Gables. I'll have to read it again. (discuss)

Soft Skull Continues to Rock 
They made MSNBC's book club with Matthew Sharpe's The Sleeping Father. Also, check out this Amanda Stern interview by Ninja reader Nathaniel Moore. (discuss)

Forget the UN
Fonts will save the world! (From Collision Detection) (discuss)

When the Law and Ethics Meet
Should a murderer be allowed to profit from a book about his crime? My heart says no, but the law might say yes. (discuss)

Soon Emily Will Be Safely Behind Bars and Won't Be Able to Once Again Roam the Countryside Seeking Warm Flesh Descended from Those Who Rejected Her in Life....
Dickinson's gate found. (discuss)

Canada Pub Crawl
Where do we sign on? (Hell, we're willing to just run alongside this guy like he was a drunken Terry Fox... If you stumble, my friend, we will be there...) (From Sarah) (discuss)

Can't... Bear... Pain...
Of... Knowing... What... This... Means... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... Poor... Innocent... "Heartfelt..." Woman... Gaagh!! (discuss)


American Publishers Can Publish Work from the Pentagram of Evil
But if they want to avoid jail, they better not even think about editing it. "The U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control recently declared that American publishers cannot edit works authored in nations under trade embargoes, which include, Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Libya and Cuba. Although publishing the articles is legal, editing is a, quote, service, and the Treasury Department says it's illegal to perform services for embargoed nations. It can be punishable by fines of up to half a million dollars or jail terms as long as ten years." When is someone going to freak out down there and lead the people in a revolt? (Thanks to JLG for the tip.) (discuss)

Canadians Are Not Americans
. Next you'll be saying Aussies aren't a bunch of dirty English castaways and the French aren't ... well, who's occupying them today? (discuss)

Literary Dick? Just One? (Can I Get a Rimshot, Please!)
Jonathan Ames has started a blog to answer literary mysteries... (On a side note, my first ever NYC reading was one given by Ames in 2000. It was at the Housing Works Cafe down in Soho. I had been in the city about a week. Novelist Ames went on for quite some time about how he was balding and then read about this guy who made prosthetic vaginas for men (called The Mangina). The character was this warped, one-legged artist who traipsed about in a strap-on vagina that used excess scrotum flesh pulled through slots in the prosthesis to simulate labia. As he read the piece, I thought, "Wow, this is freaky. But, hey, I'm in New York now... I'm down with the freaky-deak." Then he closed his book and said, "So ladies and gentlemen, here he is: The Mangina!" and out comes this one-legged dude, naked but for a prosthetic vagina and an old fashioned diving helmet. Two scantily-clad female assistants began to pump water INTO the sealed helmet while people from the audience were encouraged to pay $1 to come up and "finger the mangina" before he drowns. And there were many takers. My wife and I stared in disbelief for a few minutes more before we backed slowly to the door. In the vernacular of my slack-jawed hometown: I shit you not.) (From Maud) (discuss)

More Poetry On Op Ed Pages!
"The first recognized political commentators, the first political talking heads, the first true Op Ed professionals, were bards. Before there was even writing, members of ruling elites never really knew where they stood until the old blind guy with the lyre posted the insiders scorecard in rhyme." And we're to be paid for this? Um, okay, do you prefer iambs or dactyls? More hometown lingo: F-in' eh! It's so crazy it just might work! (discuss)

A Nice Cozy Place Where You Can Have a Drink, a Smoke, and a Bucket of Bull Gore While You Close the Deal that will Ruin the Lives of Your Employees
London investors to launch an upscale version of the Floridita, Ernesto's old watering hole. I'm sure Papa would approve. (discuss)

File This Under: Well, Duh!
"With book sales flat and the public increasingly choosing other ways to spend its leisure time, publishers received some blunt advice Thursday on how to expand the market. Get to know your readers." That, or maybe, have some dignity, scruples, and taste. One of the two. Hey... Maybe both! (discuss)

Bookninja Was Robbed!
If you find our fourth  column, keep it. It might be worth something someday. Do you like the new look? (discuss)


Soon We'll Be Lucky to Have Freedom to Remember Freedom of Speech
Laws that severely impinge civil liberties are always being passed in the name of security, ethics, and decency. But as of late, things seem particularly dire for "freedom of speech" here in the West. As is often the case, the first targets are creative works by fringe artists. Now, the dude in question here is a fringe of a fringe and only really an artist of self-denial, but the ripple effect is in motion and has serious implications for serious artists. Russell Smith examines bill C-12 and how its impact might be felt in Canada. (discuss)

The Cultural Gutter
Eye weekly columnists Jim Munro and Guy Leshinski launch The Cultural Gutter, an online paper devoted to video games, comics and science fiction. They had me at the first one. "But gutter genres aren't known for their subtlety. In fact, their obviousness and their barenakedness is why they're destined to remain beneath the radar of Serious Culture -- and why they will continue to thrive despite this. Where else can you experience dreams of power and heroism as directly as through a superhero comic? Or take out your aggression as primally by smashing in the face of a digital opponent? Meet the Other as obviously as on a voyage to another planet? Indulge a sexual peccadillo either mundane or less-mundane? I mean, it's obvious that anything that is as upfront and honest about what we fantasize about as a species is of immense cultural value. But don't tell the intelligentsia -- if they caught on, it would take all the fun out of it." (discuss)

It's a Good Thing Libraries Were Created Way Back When...
Because there's some question whether they would be today. "Suppose Ben Franklin and his ilk never existed, and we didn't have any public libraries. Then suppose somebody proposed creating them. Can you imagine the fuss?" (discuss)

Yeats Beats Keats, Pounds Ezra, Lords it Over Tennyson
"The best poet since Shakespeare?" Perhaps... But what shocked me in this piece on the new Yeats bio (for people who didn't get ripped from hefting the Lowell Collected)  is Auden's ranking in the rest of the 20th C. I would have thought him a rung or two higher. Was it the Russian judge deducting points for late life Christianity again? (discuss

Digging Up Wilfred Owen's Poetry
An archaeological crew has uncovered the dugout, complete with bodies, that inspired "The Sentry" for a BBC documentary. "Owen's poem speaks of the sentry in his platoon being blinded in an attack and the poet placing a candle near his face to see whether his sight was irretrievably damaged:

'Oh sir, my eyes - I'm blind - I'm blind, I'm blind!'
Coaxing, I held a flame against his lids
And said if he could see the least blurred light
He was not blind; in time he'd get all right.
'I can't,' he sobbed'.

The skeleton was found with three candles beside it." (discuss)

It seems scholars now think English might not be destined to become an only child (despite fratricidal tendencies). For a long while, it's been relatively common knowledge that English is killing off other languages worldwide -- take a look at air traffic control, computer programming languages and the Internet, Jim Carey movies -- but now it seems English, the little language that could (enslave you all), has some competition. Forget putting your kids in French immersion -- Mandarin is the way to go. (discuss)

Langston Hughes
A primer. (discuss)

"The unforgettable becoming the irretrievable"
"The death of a cherished friend sets life askew, leaves a hole that cannot be filled: One can think of the person, and does, but he is not there to think back, to reply. Perhaps that sense of dialogue can be replicated by simply talking about that friendship, describing how it was." Anne Atik's elegy (How It Was) for the friendship between her husband, painter Avigdor Arikha, and Sam Beckett sounds like something I must have. (discuss)

An interesting piece, not wholly bookish, on ruins and their place in art. "A ruin has two values. It is a material record of a past age. It is also an inspiration. How do we quantify one value against the other?" (discuss)

Electronic Literature 101
Hypertext fiction. Didn't that, like, happen already? And didn't nobody not give no care? I found those pages full of hyperlinks kind of boring. I want to be taken somewhere, not to wind up somewhere... But, because I like you, I'm going to show you something I've been saving -- hording, really. Something I hope will knock your socks off. This is what electronic literature has the potential to be... (Flash and speakers required, a decent connection speed or patience urged.) (discuss)


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