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June 18, 2014

Number 18:

Uncle Frank's Diary
Number Eighteen
18rush

Exploiting Experience:
Politician and Poet, Two of a Kind

A few mornings past I slogged downstairs at 5 a.m. I couldn’t sleep. I made a cup of instant, then sat on the couch in the living room with Dave the Cat. Dave snuggled up against my side and tucked his head under my arm. I turned on the TV and flipped around the cable news channels to see if it would be safe to go out that morning.

The George W. Bush World Trade Center ad came on, the one with actors pretending to be firefighters, pretending to be among the people that Bush pretended he would support when he pretended that his administration would be unstinting in its efforts to help New York City recover from the WTC attack.

There’s no pretense about the Bush Gang’s eagerness to retain and expand its power, or about using New York City and the memories and images of the WTC disaster to further the Liar-in-Chief’s ambitions to win, at last, a presidential election.

When asked why real firefighters didn’t appear in the ad, a Bush flak said it was because actors were cheaper and easier.

Well, sure. Everyone knows that the men and women who risk their lives running in and out of burning buildings are ‘way overpaid, anyhow. Why would a busy Bush operative want to waste time tracking down a couple of firefighters just for the sake of authenticity, and give the greedy schmucks an opportunity to make even more dough for easy work?

The Bush Gang is full of people pretending to be what they aren’t, so fake firefighters fit right into the scheme of things.

Nevertheless, many think the Bush WTC ad a little on the crass side. A little exploitative. A little vile. A little loathsome, base, opportunistic, crude, and cruel. Families of WTC victims, in particular, tend to moderation in their delight at the piece.

A Tale of Two Ads

Out on an errand at lunch, I made the mistake of turning on the car radio. I punched the button for WJR from Detroit, long ago one of the nation’s great mainstream radio stations. WJR once relied on home-grown talent and a community focus; now it serves as a brainless relay station for the likes of the ineffable Laura Schlessinger and America’s favorite junkie, Rush Limbaugh.

I caught Limbaugh in mid-guffaw.  He was roaring in amusement over some pathetic guest’s contention that John Kerry’s Vietnam-based ads are qualitatively different from Bush’s WTC exploitation trip.

This is the standard Righty line on the ad flap: Bush’s use of World Trade Center imagery is the same as Kerry’s use of Vietnam imagery. What’s your problem, huh?

The problem is that it isn’t true. Kerry’s ‘Nam ads exploit his own direct experience, and capitalize on his own heroics. Bush’s WTC ad exploits other people’s experience, and attempts to capitalize on other people’s heroism and suffering. Kerry takes credit for what he himself did; Bush takes credit for what others did.

One would think that even Rush Limbaugh would be able to see that. Maybe the Oxycontin’s effects linger longer than we previously thought.

The ad flap reminded me of a line I came across in Nietzsche many years ago. Most of what Nietzsche wrote leaves Uncle Frank baffled, but this statement came through loud and clear: “Poets treat their experiences shamelessly: They exploit them.”

Politicians do the same thing. But at least those with a shred of integrity exploit their own experience. Unlike George W. Bush, they don’t appropriate someone else’s as though they had a peremptory right to it.

Still Coming Soon: I Hate Him! I Hate Him! I Hate Him! (In which Uncle Frank Struggles to Express His True Feelings About George W. Bush)

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Graphic by Karen McGinnis

Uncle Frank's Diary Home
June 18, 2014

Number 19:

Uncle Frank's Diary
Number Nineteen

crust2

The Passion of the Crust: Uncle Frank Stays Home from the Movies

Have you seen Mel Gibson’s new movie? What’s the title… The Passion of the Crust? No, that’s the name I’m giving the pizza joint I’m opening soon. I’ve been a home-made pizza baker for decades. The secret to a good pizza is the crust, and the secret to the crust is the dough. The dough: It is risen! For Easter, we’ll be turning out pizzas in the shape of a cross.

     Yes, the Passion of the Crust will be a parlor of miracles. Bring in a gallon of water and we’ll turn it to wine for you while you wait for your order, and with a handful of breadsticks feed the hungry multitudes. With sauce, all things are possible.

     But back to the movies: The Passion of the Christ. That’s it, the one that gives happy viewers a chance to watch a gang of sadists beat the crap out of someone pretending to be Jesus for a couple of hours before killing him.

     This is someone’s idea of a good time? Not mine. I was there in 12th grade history class when someone brought in the 8 x 10 glossies of Mussolini and pals, photos taken after Il Duce’s former subjects vented their frustrations on their erstwhile leader. Very glossy, very up-close. Uncle Frank wanted to hurl. There are some things I don’t want to see, including Mussolini’s battered carcass and Mel’s latest movie, even if I know, in the case of the movie, that all the bloody details are just make-up and special effects.

Food for Gore, and We Don’t Mean Al

     What are we supposed to do, eat popcorn and Jujubes while savoring a long evening of mutilation?

     “Hey, Honey, get me the bucket-sized popcorn, would you? With extra butter? Torture always makes me hungry.”

     Saddam Hussein was the same way. Especially when the festivities took place outside. Outdoor air stimulates the appetite when the blood starts to fly.

     So I’ll skip the movie. The TV trailers have been sufficient to slake my taste for blood. I think I’ll stay home and watch something on Animal Planet.

     My aversion to this sacred carnage is clearly in the minority. Entire churches are arranging special showings of the film for faithful Christians seeking just a closer walk with Thee. Sorry, with Him. They’re a-thirsting to bathe in the Blood o’ the Lamb; they’re up for the vicarious misery of the Stations o’ the Cross, keen on the Crown o’ Thorns, ready to shed a tear for the precious heavenly Son o’ God, wracked and torn in his extremities, and everywhere else.

     Dang. Don’t it just make you feel… exalted?

     This is, I believe, the kind of phenomenon that led to that useful exhortation, “Get a life.”

Religious Doofuses

     Jesus, and I say that in apostrophe*, what a bunch of credulous doofuses we Americans are. We’re so overstuffed with grade-school religiosity that it oozes out our pores. We’re bloated with literalistic biblical twaddle; awash in superstitious flapdoodle; always eager to sign away our rational faculties for the promise of a harp and a cloud in the eternal firmament. How else is it possible to explain why that well-known nitwit, Pat (the Reverend) Robertson—who is on record as supporting the enlightened belief that dinosaurs and human beings once cohabited on the planet—appeared on the Fox network to offer his “thoughts” on Gibson’s film? How else is it possible to explain why NPR threw away valuable airtime on a lengthy discussion of this dumb flick?

     Hello out there: It’s a movie, fer chrissake. A movie! A length of film replicated many, many times to be shown systematically around the country for the explicit purpose of making money. That’s m-o-n-e-y. Do you think Mel is going to donate his profits to the Little Sisters of Misery’s annual pancake breakfast fund? With maybe some left over for the Lutheran Ladies’ Aide Thanksgiving mitten drive?

Not a Trace of Doubt in Their Minds

     According to 2001 Gallup polling, 45 percent of Americans consider themselves “born again.” In the same poll,  an astounding 63  percent of respondents  believe that religion can answer all or most of today’s problems. A like number, 63 percent, said that religion currently has too little presence in public schools.  But wait, there’s more:

     The Harris Poll (Feb. 26, 2003) found that 90 percent of Americans believe in God; 84 percent believe in the survival of the soul after death; 84 percent believe in miracles—they’re bringing their gallon water jugs to Passion of the Crust; 82 percent believe in Heaven, 31 percent in astrology, and 27 percent in reincarnation. Here’s a link to that depressing poll:

      http://www.harrisinteractive.com/harris_poll/index.asp?PID=359

      All of these beliefs are beyond testing. That’s what makes them “beliefs,” rather than knowledge. Like religious adherents in general, most Americans don’t want to know: They want to believe. And they do, regardless of anything resembling rational argument.

He’s Watching You, Too

      So here we are, Jesus fans: drifting through the endless maw of space, the rest of the universe rushing away from us at ever-increasing speed (for good reason, no doubt); convinced, believing, persuaded, that God in Heaven is so wonderfully interested in our inane, witless doings that He keeps His lidless eye trained on us, unblinking, even when we go to the bathroom. (Don’t bother to shut the door. It won’t help.) He’s always watching! He cares! The Good Lord won’t give you anything you can’t handle!

     Never mind that a tidal wave can wash a couple of hundred thousand innocent schmucks out to sea, as happened in the former East Pakistan in 1970, as though they were no more than sand fleas on a beach. Of course, they weren’t Christians, most of them; had they seen the Light o’ the World in time, God would no doubt have distributed life preservers. Or maybe would have directed the ocean’s force against some more deserving nation of pagan losers. God’s eye is on the sparrow, and on you, too! Be not afraid! All ya gots to do isbelieve, brothers and sisters!

Uncle Frank Believes

      Uncle Frank does. He believes we’re so afraid of what we don’t know that we’ll concoct and subscribe to any crackpot, untestable religious fantasy as long as it promises us an out, and gives us an excuse not to work for the truth.  He believes that humanity made God in its image: vain, jealous, petulant, violent, vindictive, arbitrary, cruel and irrational. That’s us. That’s our God. And “Christians” have made Jesus this sweet deity’s personal agent.

crust1    

Look at America’s true believers: making public policy in accord with religious principles; restricting on the grounds of supernatural dogma medical science—stem cell research, for example—that unfettered could hasten improved therapy for and prevention of a raft of hideous diseases; ranting and raving about the terrible threat of homosexual marriage on the basis of biblical interpretation; carrying on like lunatics over “liberal” judges’ “taking God out of the public schools”; trying to give an idiotic pseudo-science, creationism, equal time with the study of scientific evolution in high school biology classes; with their peculiar notion of God on their side, aspiring to deny  women the right to control what happens to their own bodies.

     And sniffing in disdain at the Taliban and other fundamentalist Muslims who base their laws on twisted interpretations of the Koran, and, with God as their co-pilot, fly hijacked airliners into tall buildings. Geez, what a buncha heathens. Meanwhile, religiously rapt Americans line up to wallow in Filmmeister Mel’s exercise in sadistic piety.

     Pass the pizza, Honey. Here comes the good part. You go, Jesus.

*Apostrophe: The direct address of an imaginary person.

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Graphics by Karen McGinnis

Uncle Frank's Diary Home
June 18, 2014

Number 20:

Uncle Frank's Diary
Number Twenty

fear

Conventional Whizzdom: Fear Itself

Bang-bang-bang-bang-bang.
“Come on out of there, Uncle Frank! We know you’re in there!”
Muffled groans.
“Lemme alone.”
“You can’t hide any longer!”
“Go away. Just go away.”
“The terror alert’s off the charts!”
More groans. 
“I gave at the office. Go ask the Girl Scouts.”
“You’ve been in hiding too long, Uncle Frank!”

Stumbling into the Light

Sometimes it’s hard for Uncle Frank to stand up and be counted. Nevertheless, he hauls himself to his feet, lurches across the room, opens the door, and stands leaning against the jamb, one hand over his eyes. The room behind him is in disarray, the blinds closed, the curtains drawn. A discarded pizza carton lies on the floor, next to a half-consumed bottle of Rolling Rock. A television plays a test pattern.

“There’s too much light out here,” he says. “I was watching Fox, and right about the time Bill O’Reilly started telling me the spin stops here, something clicked off in my head. So I switched to CNN, but it was the same thing there. Blondes with big lips and tanned thighs laughing with the sports guy. Joking about Kerry.  So I switched over to MSNBC, and it was the same thing there, Chris Matthews hollering at someone. I turned on the local radio, and Sean Hannity was complaining about how the liberals run the media. I turned on C-SPAN, and sat there for half an hour watching an empty table with a microphone on it.”

Uncle Frank took his hand away from his eyes and blinked.

“Then Brian Lamb came on and conducted an entire interview without moving his mouth. It was weird. Too weird. I turned back to CNN, and George W. was trying to talk. ‘Listen,’ he said, so I listened, but he didn’t say anything except ‘gonna’ and ‘uh,’ so I went to bed and stayed there. Jesus. I’d rather readMallard Fillmore* than follow this crap-ola.”

Conventional Spawn of Satan!

Who can blame Uncle Frank for hiding under the covers? He feels dreadful about it, but he’s working hard to bring himself back to a semblance of citizenship. To borrow from the Bushian lexicon of lucidity, he’s, uh, listen, he’s gonna wok the vote.

That’s right: If you donno know how to do it, he’ll show you how to wok the vote.

(That’s fer you old timers out there who remember Rufus Thomas.)

But after all this, nothing gets Uncle Frank up and at ‘em like a purported insult from the ever-hilarious Ann Coulter. You’ve probably seen the news of her brief, fleeting employment by USA Today. USAT hired her to furnish her uniquely partial and imbalanced brand of commentary on the Democratic convention. She wrote one column, and got canned. How’s come? She opened her piece by referring to the gathering in Boston as “the Spawn of Satan convention.” Really. Check it out:

http://www.anncoulter.com/columns/2004/072604p.htm

The USAT editors thought that was going a bit far, so they dumped her. Awww, shucks. If Joe McCarthy could see her now.

Frankly, Uncle Frank, a liberal-progressive-godless-socialist Democrat, is flattered to know that he stands lumped with the Spawn of Satan, in AC’s purported worldview. He considers it a badge of honor.

But poor Ann: How can any thinking person take her seriously? Does anyone believe that she believes what she says? Surely no woman in her right mind could subscribe to the assertions Coulter utters. Assuming that neither Fox News nor USA Today hires people not in their right minds, then only one conclusion remains: Ann Coulter says what she says for money. What a fresh concept! She knows the clientele, and bends to meet their tastes, regardless of her own.

There’s a word for such behavior, but we won’t use it here.

A Little Trick with Old Nick

So dear Ann did not enjoy the Democratic convention all that much. Too bad. Uncle Frank found it occasionally agreeable, Spawn o’ Satan type that he is. He’s looking forward to the Republi-cant convention, too, when—to follow through on Ann’s alliterative attack—the Bastards of Beelzebub will bask in the bosom of fear in New York City.

How many times between now and the Repub-fest do you think the Bush Gang will ramp up the terror alert level? (And, of course, Howard Dean is taking heat for suggesting that just maybe the elevated alert has some fuzzy link, maybe, to the Bush Gang’s ambition to deflect attention from Kerry, and to stoke a gullible public’s anxiety about changing commanders in the middle of a war.)  Today the malefactors are targeting financial centers; what will it be tomorrow? As one threat segues into another, who will pay attention, even if, for a change, the fear-mongers accidentally tell the truth?

Remember Attorney General Lord o’ the Flies Ashcroft’s excited announcement a month or so ago that the authorities had tracked down a terrorist plot to destroy a major shopping center? The “terrorist” nabbed in this operation is apparently a delusional headcase, with neither tools nor a plan to carry out his “attack.” Haven’t heard much about this guy lately, have we? Or about what a breakthrough in the famous War on Terror his indictment represents. “No specific mall was targeted,” reported CBS News in the following June 16 story. “No explosives were in hand. And it is unclear that the alleged terrorist had the wherewithal to do it.”

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/06/14/terror/main622950.shtml

Who needs objective evidence when it’s so easy to wave the flag of fear? George W: He da man. He’s out there trying to scare you out of your vote, this clueless, lazy, dimwitted, tongue-tied tool of the Cheney-Wolfowitz-Rumsfeld-Perle neocon cabal, with nothing to sell but fear itself.

Uncle Frank don’t buy it, pardner. Don’t you, either. It’s poison.

*Mallard Fillmore, by Bruce Tinsley, conceivably the unfunniest comic strip in the history of the universe, not excluding Nancy or Family Circus. Uncle Frank reads it daily in hopes of discerning a subtle and revealing intelligence within its ostensibly, and perhaps deliberately, cretinous comedy. You think I’m exaggerating? Look and see:  http://www.kingfeatures.com/features/comics/mallard/about.htm

Uncle Frank's Diary Home
June 18, 2014

Number 21:

Uncle Frank's Diary
Number Twenty-one

Glory Days:
Boy George as High-School Jerk

“Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.”   George W. Bush, Aug. 5, 2004

Is there a Freudian in the house?

     Any practitioner of the classical psychiatric trade would find a world of revelation in the Weasel-in-Chief’s most egregious slip of the tongue. From a man who has wistfully remarked on the advantages he would enjoy as dictator* of the United States, assurances that he is doing his best to wreck the country are surprising only to the extent that they are so public. What, one wonders, has George W. Bush said in private that, given the light of day, would turn even a few of his loyalists against him?

     George W reminds me vividly of an old high school classmate, whom I’ll call Ron Clark. (If your name is Ron Clark, I’m not speaking of you; I’m talking about someone else.) Ron Clark epitomized the worst of high-school snot-nosery, clubbiness, jock-jerkery, and contempt for those not favored with election to the ruling circle of adolescent rotarianism.

     Ron was a starting guard on the basketball team, a position of such regal and rarified influence that it infected his gait with a perpetual loping swagger, and his lip with a curling expression of condescension toward his inferiors. His inferiors included everyone, particularly males, not a part of the above ruling circle, and many who occupied it.

Rights of the Nobility

     To all appearances, Ron believed that his transient success with a basketball imbued him with certain inalienable rights, chief among them the right to act like a complete baboon’s ass, and to get away with it.

     Ron was a naked cheat. During closed-book exams in our European history class, presided over by a not terribly alert instructor, Ron sat at his desk in the back of the room with his book open in his lap, looking up the answers. Not a student in the room didn’t know that Ron was cheating, but no one said a word to the instructor.

     You don’t rat out the starting guard on the basketball team; not unless you’re eager to make the ordinary misery of high-school life all that much more unpleasant. Ron smirked and mugged and cheated his way through class, confident that no one had the guts to call him on it. As far as I know, no one did. I sure didn’t.

     Ron employed an entourage of not-very bright but well-muscled sycophants who were adept at intimidating anyone Ron found an annoyance. Ron didn’t have to do his own dirty work—except the dirty work that gave him special pleasure. Like aspiring fascists everywhere, Ron found his favorite targets in those with unusual physical characteristics. He considered it the height of good fun to call mocking attention to some classmate’s awkwardness, acne, dumpy clothes, crooked teeth, overweight, large ears, or other distinguishing marks of a superficial and meaningless nature. His taste for torment was unquenchable, and he had a deadly ability to home in on his victim’s most vulnerable point.

A Shared Expression

     I hated the guy. He seldom directly bothered me, but I hated watching him pull his bullying, mean, dishonest, arrogant, smug act, day after day, and—as far as I ever knew—never pay any consequences for it. That smug expression of which George W is a master is the same one that settled on Ron Clark’s face whenever he asserted his nasty notion of superiority in the face of some hapless classmate, left writhing in humiliation before Ron’s appreciative, or at the least, acquiescent, audience.

     I saw Ron Clark in George W. Bush the first time I watched Boy George on television. The difference between the two is that Ron Clark was a passable high-school basketball player. George W. Bush has never been good at anything, except selecting a family in which to be born. True, he operates at a level of sophistication well beyond Ron Clark’s. Instead of a couple of broad-knuckled toughs at his side, he relies on thugs like John Ashcroft, Dick Cheney, and Antonin Scalia to carry his message to the people.

     But no matter. The essence of Ron is the essence of W: the condescension, the assumed superiority, the pleasure in pushing people around, the pure contempt for those who do not kowtow to his eminence, or who struggle to survive materially in a world in which he has never known the meaning of real struggle.

Careers Different in Scale, but the Same in Nature

     Ron Clark, I trust, went on to a career of small things: stealing from his employer, perhaps, or cheating his customers, or both; abusing his wife, beating his kids, borrowing money from friends and not repaying it. If he lives yet, he is well into middle age, and no longer a prince of the basketball court. It is unlikely that any audience applauds him, or that any retinue of hangers-on hoping to benefit from his reflected fame is willing to do his dirty work for him. Ron Clark is, I have no doubt, little more than one more pathetic has-been whose glory days ended with his high-school graduation.

     By any measure of justice, that should have been George W’s fate. Instead, this prissy, sanctimonious bully occupies the most powerful office on the planet, and devotes himself, as he says, to thinking of new ways “to harm our country and our people.”

     I never believed anything Ron Clark said, but this is one statement from Boy George that I think I shall take at face value.

*http://www.newsgateway.ca/bush_dictator.htm

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Uncle Frank's Diary Home
June 18, 2014

Number 22:

Uncle Frank's Diary
Number Twenty-two

Creating Their Own Reality


The Bush Gang, however, consists of true believers who will never accept objective reality that does not correspond to their preconceptions or their fantasies.


I had a less than delightful telephone conversation with a professor while I was working the reference desk yesterday. It reminded me of the remark journalist Ron Suskind recently attributed to a Bush Gang functionary critical of the way Suskind and his reportorial ilk see the world. “We’re an empire now,” the funk said, “and when we act, we create our own reality.”

     The prof at our branch campus had discovered that she could not obtain online access to a number of journals available to faculty through the main library’s electronic roster at our mother campus. There is a simple explanation for this fact: The two libraries are essentially separate in their administrations and budgets. What one buys or subscribes to, the other does not own. The central campus has far greater financial resources than the branch, and can offer reams of resources that the branch cannot.

     I attempted to explain this routine economic reality to the prof. I said that vendor contracts sometimes make it impossible for the central campus to offer the resources in question to the branch without the branch coughing up prohibitive compensation. Vendors can be funny that way: They tend to insist that they get paid for what they offer.

     The prof was not moved. She insisted that it was illogical for her not to have access to all the resources offered to central campus library users. Again, I tried to tell her—I did, in fact, tell her—that sometimes, in spite of the central campus library’s best efforts on our behalf to bring us in on its coat-tails, the vendor nixes our access.

     This line of explanation went nowhere with her. I may as well have recited Lewis Carroll’s poem “Jabberwocky” (which, by the way, I can do, if anyone cares to hear it). Or, I could have related the starting line-up of the 1968 Detroit Tigers. Or nonsense syllables. It would have all been the same to her, because she knew what she wanted, and at that moment no information that ran counter to her desires could dent her firm view of the situation.

     She was busy creating her own reality, a reality in which she had equal rights with her faculty colleagues on another campus, regardless of objective fact. I was simply an obstructionist annoyance seeking to deny her these rights.

All Mimsy Are the Borogroves

     Those who follow the create-your-own-reality school carry an impenetrable shield around their heads. No fact that does not correspond to their wishes and their preconceptions can filter through to sully the pure fantasy that composes their view of the world. We have seen this phenomenon demonstrated time and again by the Bush Gangsters, their media shills, and by ordinary citizens who ought to know better.

     Last night I briefly watched a shouting-heads debate on CNN among several characteristically loud-mouthed participants, right and left. During the generally moronic exchange, some radio talk show host of whom I had never heard—and I can’t remember his name—asserted that the 380 tons of high explosives this week reported stolen from an Iraqi munitions dump were, in fact, “weapons of mass destruction.”

     Say what? WMDs are nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons. They are not conventional explosives, whether the convention is black powder, dynamite, or plastic. No matter: It suited radio talkguy’s forensic purposes to characterize the stolen munitions as WMDs. See? Saddam really did have WMDs, so the U.S. invasion of Iraq took place on sound principles.

     There is no fact-based argument that can contend with the reasoning advanced by those who create their own reality. Facts are irrelevant to them. What is, is what they imagine. If objective reality does not conform to their vision, no problem: They insist that the reality is something else, and proceed as if it were.

That’s Nuts. N-u-t-z, Nuts.

     Ladies and gentlemen, these people are crazy. I mean that literally. They are absolutely, stark, raving insane. They are also far more dangerous than a university professor honked off over being denied a privilege she believes (nay,knows) is her right, mere fact notwithstanding.

     I am confident that the distressed prof will eventually accept the objective reality of her condition and find ways to work through it. I do not think that she is crazy. Under pressure to research and publish, she has simply given herself up to a temporary indulgence in the product of wishful thinking compounded with a dose of self-righteousness. She’ll get over it.

     The Bush Gang, however, consists of true believers who will never accept objective reality that does not correspond to their preconceptions or their fantasies. As with the lunatics of fanatical Islam, or any other pathological worldview, the world they see is one that they manufacture between their own ears. There is no arguing or reasoning with those who create their own reality. There is only hope that one can either get out of their demented path, or deny them the power to follow it.

     This coming Tuesday, Uncle Frank is going to cast his vote hoping to achieve the second option. He hopes that you will join him, and help drive the madmen from the White House.

Uncle Frank's Diary Home
June 18, 2014

Number 23:

Uncle Frank's Diary
Number Twenty-three

Darker than Black:
The Pod People Prevail
2004election

And next election, we can just cut to the chase with a proposal that would require all gays to be tattooed with identifying marks on their foreheads. Or maybe they could be forced to wear pink triangles. There’s an idea for you: Someone should try that.


They look like Americans, but they’re not.

     Not any more, they aren’t. Like the victims of the aliens in Jack Finney’s classic science fiction novel The Body Snatchers, the majority of the American voting public has willingly exchanged its soul for the empty promises of happiness and security proffered by a malignant entity. This entity’s only true objective, like that of Finney’s space invaders, is the expansion of its own power.

     Playing expertly on popular fears and prejudice, relentlessly feeding and stroking the worst attributes of the electorate, the Bush Gang has succeeded in overturning FDR’s noble maxim. They only thing they have to count on is fear itself, and the count came out in their favor.

     My wife and I bought a couple of bottles of Fin du Monde ale the day before the election. For those of you who have sworn off French, that’s “End of the World” ale. We thought it would be a fit beverage for watching the returns. When yesterday evening came, however, we could not bring ourselves to watch. Our gut feeling was that ugliness was afoot. We would not willingly watch it. We went to bed early, the ale untouched.

Looking Bad; Looking Worse

     I tossed and turned, and had bad dreams. At 2:30 a.m., I went downstairs and turned on CNN. Things looked bad. I turned it off, went back to bed, and resumed tossing and turning. At 5:30, I got up and returned to CNN. Things looked worse. Things looked ugly.

     Many years ago I knew a librarian, a head cataloger, who had a bit of a temper on her. On the occasions when she stormed into the periodicals office where I worked as a clerk, we minions did our best to assume poses of subordinate invisibility. She would yank open a drawer in the periodical cardex, glower, and slam the drawer shut again.

     “Shithell&damn!” she would say, and stomp out of the room. She uttered  her trio of  expletives as though they composed a single word. It was one of her favorites. In her memory, I uttered it shortly after 5:30 this morning. It helped, a little, but not much.

     In this election, the only value that finally counted was fear: fear of foreigners, fear of alien religion, and fear of gays. Nothing can stand up to fear when the “leader” urges his followers to be even more afraid than they already are, and convinces them that only he can protect them from the things they fear. Everything else—the environment, the economy, personal health, civil liberties, democracy in America, you name it—is  beside the point. Recognition of this fact, and action on it, gave the Bush campaign an evil brilliance. No appeal to reason could stand up to the fear it sowed.

Fear Factors

     The so-called war on terror, of course, was fear-factor number one. Bush exploited it zealously, but fear of homosexuality appears to have come in a close second. Bush’s remorseless posturing over a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage helped encourage voters in 10 states to approve discriminatory proposals in that vein. Here in Michigan, fearful voters enshrined bigotry in the Michigan constitution. Our proposal’s marvelously vague language can be read to outlaw not only same-sex marriage, but civil unions and health benefits for the same-sex partners of public employees.

     This proud step forward in the annals of our state’s civil rights is the work of ever-energetic “Christians,” led by that happy redoubt of sexual enlightenment, the Catholic Church. The Church, oh precious Jesus, believed that constitutionally-sanctified bigotry would be a swell way to assure the propagation of home, family, zygotes, and all that.

     Oh, there’s celebration in Heaven, now. The cherubim are dancing in glee around God’s foot-stool. And next election, we can just cut to the chase with a proposal that would require all gays to be tattooed with identifying marks on their foreheads. Or maybe they could be forced to wear pink triangles. There’s an idea for you: Someone should try that.

Darker than Black

      The only potentially positive outcome residing in this debacle is that it enhances the possibility that the Bush Gang, like the Nixon administration, will have to face the consequences of its corruption and venality while still in office. Justice couldn’t strike a more deserving bunch—but with the nation tripping over its own feet in its rush to embrace a uniquely American fascism, what are the chances of the public’s showing any sustained interest in holding these crooks and con artists to accounts?

     Who cares about truth and justice when one is busy being afraid? Afraid of foreigners, afraid of other people’s religion, afraid of other countries--(“France is our enemy!”)—afraid of gays, afraid of anyone who isn’t like us.

     I have a clue for these folks: Uncle Frank isn’t like them.

     Neither are many others. One of my librarian colleagues came into my office this morning so distressed about the election that he had tears in his eyes and could barely talk. Another came to work dressed all in black. “If I’d had anything darker than black, I would have worn it,” she said.

     The pod people have spoken.

     Shithell&damn.

     That about covers it, don’t you think?

Uncle Frank's Diary Home
June 18, 2014

Number 24:

Uncle Frank's Diary
Number Twenty-four

Mourning in America:
Uncle Frank Deals with It, Sort Of

So Uncle Frank was lyin’ awake at 4 a.m. today, thinkin’ about the goddamn war. Turn over this way, turn over that way, it’s still there, like a cold wet spot on the sheet. Sleep is impossible. Get up, pull on some socks, go downstairs, turn on the television. There’s the CNN insomniac-hour anchor, lookin’ like she’s about 23 years old, unlined, perky, perfectly made up, eyes the size o’ saucers glowing in her unwrinkled, flawless face.

     Christ. I don’t want perky, perfect and unwrinkled at 4 a.m. I want to see a news anchor who reflects my own perspective of the moment: aggravated, haggard, and disheveled. I want someone, I don’t care whether it’s a man or a woman, whose appearance and tone match the gruesome, inhuman stories oozing out of the tube. I want someone with a suitable scowl, a whiskey & cigarettes rasp, and a big cup of coffee from which he (or she) takes regular long drinks, preferably in the middle of a sentence.

     At 4 a.m. I want to see a newscaster who looks like he’d just as soon stomp on my instep as read me the news. Remember Hughes Rudd? He did the morning news on CBS back in the ‘70s, and was just about right for the job. He usually managed to sound as though he thought everything he was reading was nothing more than part of the tracking record of a crazed species committed to self-destruction. Which, one suspects, it was.

     The war, the splendid little war. It won’t go away.

     How do you deal with it? Do you sign on with the yellow-ribbon support-our-troops brigade? What does that mean? Cheer and shout as they’re sent off to be blown up and maimed to feed the idiot-in-chief’s delusional claptrap about freedom being “on the march”?

     You can try to ignore it, repress it, deny it, look the other way. You try that. It won’t work The war’s enormity will blindside you at bad times.

Goin’ Down the Road Feelin’ Bad

     Like when you’re driving. On the way to work a few days ago, I was listening to a good interview with my old favorite, John Fogarty. He sounded relaxed and in good spirits, talking about his first CD in several years, “Déjà Vu All Over Again.” He gives a fascinating account of the nearly mystical way in which the title song came to him, and it’s worth a visit to the NPR site to hear his interview with Scott Simon: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4178668

     “Déjà vu” is a powerful antiwar song, made doubly so by the grief and weariness that mark it throughout. This is no political rant, but a deeply humane, soulful response to Fogarty’s terrible sense, as he wrote the song, that we were about to do the same damned thing, all over again, that we did in our gloriously stupid exercise in Vietnam. “The song is about the sorrow and utter waste of war,” says Fogarty in the interview, “especially the effect on families.” Yup:

     Day by day we count the dead and dyin’

     Ship the bodies home while the networks all keep score…

     Day after day, another mama’s cryin’

     She’s lost her precious child to a war that has no end…

     It’s like déjà vu all over again

96 Tears (Or Thereabouts)

I started getting glum as soon as the song began; when the line about “mama’s cryin’” came, I started sobbing. I  blubbered my way along the freeway until the song ended. I do not recommend this as a good way to drive in heavy traffic. The tears blur up your vision, and your attention wanders while you’re trying to find something for nose-blowing purposes. I finally found a napkin left over from a McDonald’s drive-by. Drive-through. Whatever.

     I thought, Jesus, where did this reaction come from?  But I knew: It’s been there all along. About as well as anyone else, I can intellectualize the whole wretched business, and keep the tears at bay. It’s more acceptable in red-blooded America to express anger than grief, and sometimes anger is the right emotion—but sometimes, you just gotta cry.

     Today, in my office, I went to the NPR site and found a link to “Déjà vu.” I played it, and had the same reaction.

     Hey, Uncle Frank! How come you cryin’ in your office?

     Can’t help it, Pardner. There are just too many mamas’ precious children dying for nothing but a fool’s fantasy to do otherwise.


Uncle Frank's Diary Home
June 18, 2014

Number 25:

Uncle Frank's Diary
Number Twenty-five

So Let Her Die, Already


Terry Schiavo is dead. That’s D-E-A-D. Let her corporeal package follow her spirit into death. Do not humiliate the memory of her person by using her body for ideological profit. Do not be so squalid. In the Schiavo case, we are watching a hideous, blasphemous obscenity perpetrated by fools and con artists.


Uncle Frank just got back from the dark side of the moon. He was working on a book, to the exclusion of most normal activities, including reading the news and carrying on about it here. He sent off the manuscript a few days ago, and can now return to the joys of the world as we know it. Lucky lad!

     His first question on rejoining the multitudes: “How’s the war going?” He likes to ask the obvious questions. You can check out of the human scene for any length of time, and assume on your welcome back that some war is going on, somewhere.

     His next question: “What the hell are those morons in Congress doing getting involved in the Terri Schiavo case?”

     I’ll tell you what: They’re busy demonstrating their firm commitment to egregious moral posturing, because they know the nation’s religious rubes can’t tell the difference between good faith and blatant cynicism. The occasional rite-to-lifer who can tell the difference doesn’t care, because in the purely Machiavellian world of American fetal fetishists, the only thing that counts is securing the objective, by any means necessary.

     (Hmm. That last phrase has an odd echo, does it not? But let’s leave that for another outing.)

Look, Dick, Look: See the Living Corpse

     The fetishists know that a legal decision keeping TS on the tubes (feeding and cathode ray both) will enhance their arguments on behalf of Dick and Jane Zygote. “Life” being “sacred,” and all that, you know. Except for the thousands of innocents that these same heavy thinkers countenance being annihilated in places like Iraq, but why look for consistency?

     Schiavo is dead. Oh, sure, her autonomic nervous system chugs on, but the person she was has been dead for years, and, the fantasies of her fan club notwithstanding, she ain’t comin’ back. I saw one of her family members on TV recently; according to his quaint, unutterably selfish point of view, TS is merely “disabled,” and can “improve” with “therapy.”

     Damn right she’s disabled. You can’t get much more disabled than suffering massive, irreversible brain damage. The conflux of organ and spirit that once made TS the person she was is gone with the wind, over the hills and far away, hi-yo Silver. Schiavo no longer exists. All that’s left is a jointed apparatus, once useful for the late TS to get around in, but now naught but an inadvertently-animated sack of bone and meat suitable for nothing but exploitation by the idiotic (the rite-to-life dreamers), the terminally cynical (those conscienceless creeps in Congress), and ghouls like Larry King “Live,” who just can’t show enough clips of TS’s mindless body lolling on its hospital bed, grinning its empty, meaningless grin, staring its empty, awful stare.

     If this sight does not make you want to scream in rage at the grotesque manner in which this woman’s remains are being exploited and insulted, you have a thicker skin than Uncle Frank.

See Spot Twitch

     Would you treat the body of your dog or cat the way those responsible are treating TS’s remains? Put the gaping, twitching, blindly-staring carcass on display for the sick voyeurs of Larry King and for the sentimental, readily-duped practitioners of “faith” (Oh, yes: She’ll “improve” with “therapy.” As they say in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula in response to an assertion beyond blivethood: “You betcha, eh?”). Would you treat Fluffy’s or Spot’s mortal remains thus so that truly loathsome men and women in Washington could use the ghastly images to help assure their reelection?

     You would not treat Fluffy or Spot this way. You would say, “That’s sick, Uncle Frank. I would never do that. It’s worse than sick. It’s evil!”

     And you’d be right.

     Is there, at long last, no decency left in this nation? Are Americans so morally and politically depraved that they are willing to stand back and watch their elected “leaders” and the self-congratulating religious pious make a corpse dance in public like a marionette for the sake of advancing their personal agendas?

That’s Dead. Dead. Dead. Deal with It.

     My mother died eight years ago this month. She died in peace and privacy, in her own bed at home, with my father at her side. Her dying image did not appear on CNN. Her life could have been prolonged, for a limited time, by the insertion of a feeding tube. To what end? A more protracted coma? For what purpose? So that the people who cared for her would not have to grow up and let go, not have to acknowledge that death has its day, always, for everyone?

     Terry Schiavo is dead. That’s D-E-A-D. Let her corporeal package follow her spirit into death. Do not humiliate the memory of her person by using her body for ideological profit. Do not be so squalid. In the Schiavo case, we are watching a hideous, blasphemous obscenity perpetrated by fools and con artists.

     Stop it. Please stop it. Stop it before Uncle Frank has to go back to the dark side of the moon—not to work on a book, but because he just can’t stand to watch this shit no more.

Uncle Frank's Diary Home
June 18, 2014

Number 26:

Uncle Frank's Diary
Number Twenty-six

Book Awards and the Best Writers of Their Generation:

Too Many of Both


I don’t know what won. Or who won. I don’t care. And it doesn’t matter. . . How can it matter, when in a nation that cranks out close to 10,000 works of fiction every year, the judges who pick the NBA winner for fiction read a few hundred such works in their grueling struggle to find the most deserving?


It takes Uncle Frank some time to get around to chewing on a topic publicly, now and then. He likes to gnaw on it in private, like a dog with a rawhide bone, then, when the thing is good and droolish, he hauls it into the living room and drops it at your feet. Ick.

     He’s been gnawing at the notion of book awards for a long time, and not just book awards, but the whole business of book reviews.

     Not to pick on the National Book Awards, which surely are not much dumber than the rest, but the last go-‘round in the NBA fiction award battle was pretty characteristic of the whole enterprise of giving awards to writers for their books.

     As you’ll recall, the selection of the five finalists for the award raised a ruckus owing to their geographic, sexual, and commercial uniformity. The five favored litterateurs were all women, all from New York City, and none of them, I think, had cracked 3,000 copies sold of her belovedly brilliant-but-obscure book.

     The worst of these categories is the geographical. The American book biz has been provincial forever, with New York City and Boston the hubs of writing, publishing, reviewing, and reflection on those three activities. These are the “National” book awards? What kind of “national” perspective derives from drawing all your finalists from the same big city?

Oh, Desolation!

In a larger sense, though, so what? Once one recognizes that the National Book Awards ritual is basically nonsensical, it is impossible to care what gets nominated, or what wins. I don’t know what won. Or who won. I don’t care. And it doesn’t matter. (Jack Kerouac, Desolation Angels: “I don’t know, I don’t care, and it doesn’t matter anyway.”) How can it matter, when in a nation that cranks out close to 10,000 works of fiction every year, the judges who pick the NBA winner for fiction read a few hundred such works in their grueling struggle to find the most deserving?

     That’s what they do, and then announce the one work of fiction published in the United States in a given year that really, really deserves honor above all the rest.

     Please: Is anyone willing to join Uncle Frank in calling this practice idiotic? Vast reams of fiction, ranging from hideous to magnificent, roll across the country every year. Most of it, regardless of its merit, disappears from view without a whimper. The National Book Award judges are oblivious of it. Is it conceivable that maybe, just maybe, somewhere in the 9,000 books they didn’t read, there might be one just a hair better than the one they decided is the cream o’ the crop?

     Oh, I think so. Now, if the judges openly admitted that they haven’t a clue as to what the best book in the country is, but are picking one they pretty much like to sort of represent all the deserving, and maybe more deserving, books that neither they nor 99.99 percent of the reading public will ever scrutinize, that would be tolerable, maybe. But they don’t do that: They act as though they know what they’re talking about when they make their choices.

     They don’t know what they’re talking about. Statistical reality guarantees it. They should be embarrassed to pretend that they do know.

     But please, don’t let me pick on the National Book Award judges. They’re no worse offenders in this vein than other award awarders, or book reviewers, either. In the New York Times Book Review of November 14, the lead review on Alice Munro’s Runaway said that she “has a strong claim to being the best fiction writer now working in North America.”

Pass Me the Doritos

What? What is the reviewer saying? How can he possibly make such a preposterous, uninformed assertion? Oh, I’m sorry: He has read the other many thousands of books published in the past year, and the year before that, and before that. He has also found a way to read all the manuscripts completed but never submitted to publishers, for whatever reason, that are languishing in the bottom drawers of writers of whom we know nothing, but whose labor over their books they probably considered “working” while they were engaged in it, rather than watching TV or sleeping or eating nacho cheese Doritos and drinking beer and watching squirrels run around the back yard—all of which are probably more worthwhile pursuits than picking book award winners.

       The world is just full of people who want to tell you what’s the best, and what isn’t worth your time. Remember when would-be cultural dictator Harold Bloom worked himself into a stupid snit over Stephen King’s nabbing a National Book Foundation medal for “Distinguished Contribution to American Letters”? Bloom thinks King is a low-rent hack.

      Which must explain why Bloom once edited a collection of criticism on King with the imaginative title, Stephen King (Chelsea House, 1998). Bloom’s introduction to the collection is marvelously patronizing. He obviously despises King’s writing, as he apparently does most of the reading public. King is symptomatic of the Decline o’ the West, blah blah blah. Not that the Bloomster is above cranking out a book to capitalize on King’s popularity, but hey, he doesn’t have to like it while he’s doing it. If you read his intro, you’ll swear that he was grinding his teeth throughout the wretched ordeal.

Blooming Poseurs

     Bloom and the National Book Awards are all part of the same kultural stew that brings us every pompous “critic’s” estimation of what the good stuff really is. Want a little pointless entertainment? Look in online databases and search engines for phrases like “best writer working,” “best writer at work,” and “best writer in America.” You’ll be surprised how many best writers there are. I fooled around with this sort of searching a while back. Here’s some of what I found. Why don’t you just kick off your shoes for a barefoot romp through the best writers in America?

     Jerry Sullivan, in the Buffalo News (March 3, 2002), thinks that Andre Dubus is maybe “the best American writer of his generation, period.”

     Keith Pandolfi, of the Times-Picayune (Feb. 10, 2002), says that Richard Ford “is arguably the best American writer working.”

     According to Rheta Grimsley Johnson in the Atlanta Constitution (July 21, 1999), Walker Percy is “possibly the best American writer of the 20th century.”

     But Jim Coyle (Toronto Star, May 10, 2001) says that “The best writer working in English today is Tom Wappel.”

    Cal Thomas (urp!) contends that Martha Williamson is “the best writer working in television” in his syndicated blovation published in the Grand Rapids Press, July 23, 1999.

     On the other hand, Jamie Portman reported a month earlier in the Vancouver Sun (June 25, 1999), that actor Rob Lowe considers Aaron Sorking “the best writer working in any medium today.” Does that include pastels and charcoal?

     A year earlier (May 1, 1998), Ted Cox, of the Arlington Heights, IL, Daily Herald, claimed that Darin Morgan is “the best writer working in television.” Maybe Morgan, Sorking, and Williamson could slug it out for the championship belt in a WWF extravaganza.

     It goes on. The “best writer in America” was, according to Greil Marcus, the late Lester Bangs, wrote Nicholas Lezard in The Guardian (Sept. 6, 2003). I’ve always admired Marcus, and used to laugh myself silly over Bangs, but really…

     Jonathan Franzen “is just about the best writer in America now,” says Maya Even, according to Rebecca Rose in the Financial Times (June 21, 2003).

     In the Washington Times (June 18, 2000), Ronald Radosh reports that Nat Hentoff considers Norman Mailer “the best writer in America.”

     Annie Proulx is “maybe the best writer in America,” says David Thompson ofThe Independent (London), May 30, 1999.

     Apparently Proulx has eclipsed Thomas Williams, whom Stephen King declared “the best writer in America,” according to Joseph Coates in the Chicago Tribune, back on May 24, 1992.

     Alice Munro (yup, her again) beats ‘em all, of course, because she is “the best writer working today,” in the opinion of Lily Thayer in the Citypaperonline, Dec. 19, 2001.

     Unless, as John Leonard argues, “the best writer working in America today” is Toni Morrison (cited in Books for the Journey Toward Wholeness, Unitarian Universalist Association, May, 2002).

     According to www.readings.org, The San Francisco Examiner has called Tim O’Brien the “best American writer of his generation.” Actually, I think it was more likely someone working for the Examiner who said that. I don’t think theExaminer has ever said anything. Newspapers don’t talk.

I’m almost done… two more:

     Lorrie Moore is “the best American writer of her generation,” according to Nick Horby in the Sunday Times (London), as quoted in www.fairfieldweekly.com. Yeah? Better keep her away from Tim O’Brien.

    And finally, someone in Vanity Fair said that Nicholson Baker is “the best American writer of his generation.” That was quoted in Rare Book Review, www.rarebookreview.com. Keep him away from O’Brien and Moore, unless you want to see blood on the walls.

Boy, there sure are a lot of best writers, aren’t there? Makes you kind of want to drop your pen, unplug your word processor, and go out in the back yard and feed the worms. I mean, if all these people are the best, what’s a shmuck like you doing thinking you have a right to intrude on their turf by composing so much as a grocery list?

     The one thing that all these bestowers of “the best” have in common, of course, is that they, like the book award awardsters, don’t know what they’re talking about. But it sure makes you sound pretty smart to announce to the world that you know what “the best” is, huh?

     Let’s make a deal: If you read a book that you really like, tell us about it. If you read a book that you really hate that you think deserves attention because of the threat it poses civilization through its badness, tell us about it. But don’t tell us that the good book is the “best,” or that the bad book is the “worst.” You don’t know. I don’t know. Uncle Frank doesn’t know.

And it doesn’t matter, anyway.

Uncle Frank's Diary Home
June 18, 2014

Number 27:

Uncle Frank's Diary
Number Twenty-seven

uf27badbooks

Bad Books! Bad, Bad Books!

(Conservative “Scholars” Reveal the Worst)

If the panoply of human folly and stupidity does not occasionally leave you weak in the knees, longing for the company of animals, you cannot be living in the same world that I am. It is possible, sometimes, to carry on more rational exchanges, and achieve more constructive results, with a dog or a cat than with the members of one’s own species.

Oh, Them Awful Books!

Consider, for example, the recent announcement by that redoubt of Righteousness, Human Events Online (www.humaneventsonline.com/), regarding the “Ten Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th Centuries.” This exercise in literary dopiness (its similarly-dopey companion is “10 Books Every Student Should Read in College”), aims to identify the books that have wrought the most havoc in the period in question. The list was compiled by “conservative scholars” and “public policy leaders.”

Is it worth anyone’s time to dwell on the titles that these “scholars” and “policy leaders” find so dangerous? No. Why would you care what these people think? Consider the individuals on whom Human Events relies for fodder:

  • “Family values” gangster and “Christian” activist Gary Bauer
  • That prominent model of conservative temperance and dignity, Ann Coulter
  • The Moonies’ own newspaper, the Washington Times
  • Fox “News” blowhard, Bill “Shut Up!” O’Reilly
  • Phyllis “Back to the Kitchen” Schlafly
  • and that peerless pillar of journalistic integrity and courage, Robert Novak
I mean, really: Would the opinions of people who trade what passes for thought with the likes of such folk be likely to stimulate your desire to know the content of conversations between said individuals? If you saw Bauer standing on a street corner engaged in chit-chat with Coulter, would you want to run up to them and listen in?

I thought not. So why would you care what books their like-minded pals—I’m sorry, their “policy leaders”—think are bad, bad, bad books?

Free, Affluent, and Living Out of a Shopping Cart

Anyhow, there’s the list of 10, and with each listing comes a shallow annotation purporting to present the entry’s badness in succinct fashion. Here’s some of what the “policy leaders” say about Marx’s work, Das Kapital. Old Karl was all wet, you see; he “could not have predicted 21st Century America: a free, affluent society based on capitalism and representative government that people the world over envy and seek to emulate.”

Hey, really. Free and affluent. They’s rich people busy being free everywhere you go. I see them daily. I saw one the other day being escorted from the library where I work; she had what were apparently all her possessions in a grocery cart, and two campus safety staff members were gently guiding her back out of the building. Like happy Americans everywhere, this woman is enjoying the fruits of capitalism and representative government. (That’s the government that legislative heroes like Tom DeLay rig up through gerrymandering while they prattle about spreading democracy around the world.)

I trust that this woman is savoring her freedom and affluence while she sleeps outside on the ground. Shoot, it’s summer; it doesn’t get that cold.  Indeed, people everywhere “envy” and “seek to emulate” life in these United States. They all want to push grocery carts full of stuff. That’s because we’re number one!

And plenty subtle about it, too. That’s another reason why everyone loves, envies, and wants to be like us: because we wear our superlative superiority so very gracefully, and never give the impression that we think another culture, another people, another way of seeing the world, is not quite up to the snuff we snort.

Gosh, but we’re modest; modest, and proud of it. And rightfully so. Jesus loves us but good, don't you think?

Number One with a Bullet

What sorts of books turn up on the Inhuman Events pick-to-click list? Number one with a bullet in the back in the must-read ranks is the Bible. What,Huckleberry Finn you were expecting? Crime and Punishment, maybe?

According to the “scholars” who wave the Bible in yo’ face, it is “a volume that has been virtually banned in public schools by the United States Supreme Court.”

What do they mean by “virtually banned”? You can’t, like, look at it on a computer? Buh-loney. The Bible is readily available free, in full text, on the Web. Nearly any schoolboy or girl in America with access to a computer in the school library could Google up a version of the Bible and sit there reading it without a problem. Why, they could start at the beginning and bore themselves silly with all that begatting business in Genesis, and keep it up, if they wanted, until they finished Revelation and all its cwazy symbolism. And if they got tired of reading the blessed thing on the computer monitor, they could probably find the book in the flesh on the library shelves and sit down and read it the old fashioned way, one begat at a time.

Then they could go home and ask Mom and Dad to explain begatting.

I’m not sure how that works out to being “banned,” but I reckon the geniuses atHuman Events know better than I about such things.

And Now for a Really Harmful Book!

Speaking of the Bible, has it not occurred to the HE gang that the “good book” might readily lead an alternative list of “most harmful books”? Consider the misery and death and ruined lives tied through history to this document. The Crusades, the Inquisition… torture, perversion, child abuse, the subjugation of women, encouragement of superstition and magical thinking, denial of scientific fact… why, when we’re tallying up black marks against books, the Bible bids fair to be the leader of the pack.

So, yeah, I look forward to getting home tonight so that I can talk to my cats, Dave and Wally, Jr. They make more sense than the people at Human Eventsand their book lists.

#

Graphic by Karen McGinnis

Uncle Frank's Diary Home
June 18, 2014

Number 28:

Uncle Frank's Diary
Number Twenty-eight

DUPES

Uncle Frank and the Dupes of Hazard

Is it not obvious that the Bush Gang is the most inept, most dishonest, most delusional, most profligate presidential administration in American history? Its crimes and stupidities make those of the Clinton, Reagan, Nixon, Johnson, Harding, and Grant administrations look like the puerile work of schoolyard shakedown artists.

Is it not obvious that the American mainstream media are hopeless? Runaway brides! Jacko! Pretty affluent white girls gone missing! (Day 497!) Hannity, Matthews, O’Reilly, Limbaugh! It is as if the ghost of William Randolph Hearst has seized control of all the television networks, the entire radio spectrum, and most newspapers, to paint the whole nation a dripping yellow, the yellow of sensation, of infectious discharge, of purulent prurience and untrammeled idiocy.

Drop Your Gs and Woof Like a W

And there be prissy-lipped Boy George, smirkin’, droppin’ his Gs from every other verb, tellin’ us to “look” and “listen” before he utters yet another inane bromide that would insult the intelligence of a not terribly gifted dog. Blahblahblahblahblah, ad infinitum.

What is left to say? What is left to do? What, precisely, is the point?

Why, that is, bother?

I know people who simply cannot, could not if their lives depended on it (which they may, in fact) acknowledge that B.G. and the Gang have ever miscalculated, misled, or failed to think through to the consequences of their actions. These true believers—who give every appearance of reasoned thought in other areas of their lives—have willingly gouged out their own eyes rather than own up to seeing what lies (and what lies they are!) before them.

Oh, Daddy! Please Don’t Kill Us!

What motivates them? Profound fear of blacks? Hatred of paying taxes? A hard-boiled fetal fetishism? A naïve and sentimental love, God help us, of Jesus? Do they turn to Boy George because he gives them hope that:

a) He’ll keep the blacks out of the neighborhood.

b) He’ll cut their taxes, just like he does the taxes of all those big corporations.

c)      He’ll make sure that every zygote blooms into a pwecious wittle baby; not one little bundle o’ stem cells in a Petri dish will be crying “Oh, Daddy, please, don’t kill us! We’ll be good! We’ll clean our plates! Dishes! Whatever!”

d)     He’ll put God, damn it, back at the center of American life.

e)      He’ll kill them heathen bastards in the Middle East.

Honestly, how can anyone take these people seriously? I was watching that bowtied twit Tucker Carlson on some show or other a short while back. He was arguing with a hapless guest about the next Soup-ream Court appointment. TC professed amazement at the idea that there are some good reasons to place a woman (you know, one of those people what ain’t got a prominent Adam’s apple) on the court.

Is it possible that Carlson is as complete an idiot as his expressed incomprehension would suggest? (Gosh, let me see if I can think of why it might be a Good Thing to have a couple of women, in a nation whose population is more than half women, on the Supreme Court to help decide on legal issues that affect women in ways powerfully out of proportion to the way they affect men. Oh, geez. Help me out here, would you? I’m really struggling with this one. Me & Tucker, we have a problem here.)

Or is Carlson thoroughly and utterly cynical, pretending to amazement that he does not feel for the sake of ratcheting up the rhetorical heat of his lame-o program? Or is it possible that he is both thoroughly and utterly cynical, and a complete idiot as well?  

Uncle Frank reports; you decide.

Media Morons

Not to single out Carlson, although I just did, for an extra helping of Uncle Frank’s Special Hot Sauce of Opprobrium. He’s merely one of the mainstream media-moron gang. They’re everywhere.

Don’t it just make ya weary? It made me call up the blessedly divine James Dobson of Croak Us on the Family, to ask him for some of his inspired guidance. He oughta know from guidance, given that he’s bright enough to compare stem cell research to Nazi medical experiments.

“Hey, Jim, I been feelin’ all out of sorts with this criminal bunch o’ fools wreckin’ the country….  Yeah, you know, Bush & Cheney and all…. Oh, I mean, lying us into a war, spending the kids into debt, getting what they want by scaring the crap outta people and throwing their weight around like a buncha mobsters…. & all that dopey booya about religion—I see that Boy George thinks ‘intelligent design’ oughta be taught as an alternative to scientific evolution. What I want to know is, if the design is so all-fired intelligent, how come a dimwit like W is in the White House, huh? What’s intelligent about that?”

The Divinely Blessed Father Dobson hung up on me. I guess I don’t qualify for divine counsel. Jesus probably hates me, too. I should get one of these buttons:http://www.stickergiant.com/page/sg/PROD/g555.

Maybe you’ll have better luck with the Right Hand o’ God. You can ask the Most Holy Blessed Jimbo a question right here:  http://www.family.org/

So, You Know—You Know?

But getting back to the point: Why bother? When we are all the pathetic dupes of a hazard beyond our power to control, even to influence, why not just lie back and take it like the targets we are?

I’m not advocating defeatism or nothin’ like that, but Uncle Frank kind of wishes that it would all just go away, you know?

You do know, don’t you.

Graphic by Karen McGinnis

Uncle Frank's Diary Home
June 21, 2014

Literary Links

NewPages Guide to Literary Links

This list contains review sites, publishing news, podcasts online, videos online, and audio programs online from literary magazines, book publishers, alternative magazines, universities, and bloggers; these include poetry readings, lectures, author interviews, academic forums, and news.

Review Sources | Poets and Writers

 

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z #s

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AbeBooks Online marketplace for books, fine art and collectibles

Academy of American Poets Poets.org

Aloud The Library Foundation of Los Angeles’ celebrated literary series of conversations, readings and performances at the downtown Central Libraryonlineonline

AlterNet Books 

Arts & Letters Daily Links to more than 17,000 articles, book reviews, and essays, an archive that adds up to a thinking person’s guide to the world of art and ideas. 

ArtsJournal Words

The Association of Writers & Writing Programs AWP

The Atlantic - Books

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Babylonian & Assyrian Poetry & Literature recordings of ancient poetry in the original languageonline

BBC World Book Club The world's great authors discuss their best-known novel online

Beatrice Introducing readers to writers since 1995 (archives)

The Best American Poetry blog *

Between The Covers Today's best writers in conversation with Host David Naimon online

Big Other "online forum of iconoclasts and upstarts focusing its lens on books, music, comics, film, video..." 

The Big Read The NEA Big Read exposes people to new genres and ideas and challenges their current tastes in literature

Bitch Media Books Mission is to provide and encourage an engaged, thoughtful feminist response to mainstream media and popular culture

Blog Critics: Books Online magazine covering the arts, culture and society.*

Book Browse Your guide to exceptional books

The Book Designer Practical Advice to Help Build Better Books

Book Riot a direct, honest, fun, and often funny source for knowing what to read and what is new in the worlds of books and comics

Bookable established and emerging writers in conversation with host Amanda Stern online

BookBub

Bookforum "A showcase for rigorous and elegant writing"

BookFox "focuses mainly on new literary titles." 

Booklist (ALA)

Bookslut (archives)

Bookwire - Bowker guide to new books

Bookworm - KCRW Intellectual, accessible, and provocative literary conversations online

Boston Area Small Press and Poetry Scene poetry, reviews, interviews

Button Poetry production, distribution, promotion and fundraising for performance poetry

BuzzFeed Books Section


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C-SPAN Book TV Each weekend, Book TV features 48 hours of nonfiction books

Canadian Book Review Annual

Canadian Literature

Center for the Art of Translation Dedicated to finding dazzling new, overlooked, and underrepresented voices, brought into English by the best translators, and to celebrating the art of translation

The Center for Book Arts Promotes active explorations of both contemporary and traditional artistic practices related to the book as an art object

Chicago Reader Books 

CHOICE (ALA)

Citizen Lit This literary podcast explores what it means to be an active member of the writing world through reviews, interviews, and recorded performances (Archives through 2017) online

College Book Art Association Supports and promotes academic book arts education by fostering the development of its practice, teaching, scholarship and criticism

The Compulsive Reader Reviews of books by some of the hottest writers working today, exclusive author interviews, literary news and criticism

Container creating books which aren’t, in the quotidian sense, books at all as we aim to free artists from being boxed in by roles, forms, abilities, or identities

Council of Literary Magazines and Presses [CLMP]

The Creative Nonfiction Podcast weekly podcast showcasing leaders in narrative journalism, essay, memoir, documentary film, and radio hosted by Brendan O'Meara online

Critical Mass blog of the National Book Critics Circle


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The Daily Vonnegut "Reviews, Interviews, Trivia, and all things Kurt Vonnegut"

Danny Yee's Book Reviews

The Drunken Odyssey with John King weekly writing life podcast online

 

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Electric Lit We are committed to publishing work that is intelligent and unpretentious, to elevating new voices, and to examining how literature and storytelling can help illuminate social justice issues

Emerging Writers Network writing, literary magazines, reviews

Entertainment Weekly Books

Entropy featuring literary and related non-literary content

Essay Daily A space for conversation about essays & essayists, contemporary and not

 

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Fear No Lit an offbeat literary experience

Federation of BC Writers British Columbia Community of Writers

Fiction Writers Review conversations about the craft of fiction, literature, and the writing life

Firefly  podcast presented by Sarah Lawrence's LUMINA literary journal online

FiveBooks "The best books on everything"

Former People: A Journal of Bangs and Whimpers  online

From the Catbird Seat Poetry & Literary Blog from Library of Congress

From the Fishouse free online showcase of emerging poets reading their work online

Full Stop focusing on debuts, works in translation, and small press books

Fusion Berklee College of Music's global arts magazine with featured guest artists

 

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Girls at Library literary interviews and book recommendations by a diverse group of women with a passion for reading

Goodreads "World’s largest site for readers and book recommendations"

Grammar Girl series of five-minute grammar tips hosted by QD online

 

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H-Net Reviews Online scholarly reviews

Harriet - Poetry Foundation A literary blog about poetry and related news

How a Poem Happens Contemporary Poets Discuss the Making of Poems

House House A place in Seattle to read words, hear words, and make your own words better. We provide classes, events, and fellowships for emerging and established writers.

Huffington Post Books 

 

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I Liked the Book Better discussions about books made into films as the hosts compare the two forms (archives) online

Incoming Radio true stories of those in America’s military, told in their own words online

Independent Book Publishers Association Mission is to lead and serve the independent publishing community through advocacy, education, and tools for success

IndieBound A Community of Independent Local Bookstores

IndieReader New Authors, Self-Published Books

Inpress Books UK - The Online Bookstore for Independent UK Publishers

Interesting Literature A Library of Literary Interestingness

 

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Jacket2
 articles, reviews, interviews, discussions and collaborative responses

January Magazine Book, Authors, Entertainment, More

Journal of the Month putting new literary magazines in your mailbox on a regular basis

 

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Kelly Writers House founded by students, faculty, and staff of University of Pennsylvania hosting hundreds of public programs and projects throughout the year online

The Kenyon Review Podcast interviewing a poet each month online


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Lambda Literary leader in LGBT book reviews, author interviews, opinion, news

Largehearted Boy A literature and music website that explores that spot in the venn diagram where the two arts overlap.

Law and Politics Book Review

Letras Latinas Blog literary program of the Institute for Latino Studies at the University of Notre Dame

Library Journal

Library of Congress Poet Vision Series Webcasts & Podcasts from the Poetry and Literature Center at the Library of Congress online

Library of Congress Poetry & Literature Home

Library of Congress The Poet & the Poem Series poetry interviews with distinguished artists online

LibraryThing Enter what you’re reading or your whole library.

Lit Hub An organizing principle in the service of literary culture, a single, trusted, daily source for all the news, ideas and richness of contemporary literary life.

Lit Up a podcast about books conducted by Angela Ledgerwood online

Literary Kicks "Opinions, Observations and Research" *

The Literary Saloon writing, literary news, opinion *

The Literary Whip interviews with lit mag editors about the pieces they've rejected (archives) online

Littsburgh celebrating Pittsburgh's vibrant literary scene

Litquake San Francisco's Literary Festival

Locus Online Science Ficion, Fantasy, Horror

The Loft Literary Center A nonprofit arts organization offering services for readers and writers at every level.

London Review of Books

lyrikline an international database for experiencing the diversity of contemporary poetry


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Magazines Canada - Protects and supports the interests of the Canadian consumer and business media magazine industry

McSweeney's Timothy McSweeney's Internet Tendency

The Missouri Review Soundbooth audio interviews onlineonline

The Millions Our mission is to give our readers something interesting every day and to help them find great books to read

MobyLives books, writing, publishing, news

Montreal Review of Books

The Moth "True Stories Told Live" online

Motionpoems Where the best poets meet the best filmmakers.

Moving Poetry compendium of video poetry from around the web online


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n + 1 Book Reviews An online-only review of books and arguments about books.

National Public Radio Book section presenting authors reading & discussing new books

Neon Books Big List of UK Literary Magazines

Neon Books Big List of UK Poetry Publishers

The Nervous Breakdown "Word to your mother"

New Letters on the Air half-hour radio companion to lit mag New Letters online

New Republic Book Reviews

New Statesman Books

The New Verse News Politically progressive poetry on current events and topical issues

New Yorker Books & Fiction

New Yorker Podcasts  including The Writer's Voice, Fiction Podcast, Poetry Podcast online

New York State Literary Tree

New York Times Book Review online

Notebooking Daily Keeping Creativity Live-wired


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OTHERPPL inappropriate interviews with authors hosted by Brad Listi online

The Other Stories featuring emerging writers as they read a piece of fiction, before they're interviewed by Host Ilana Masad online


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The Page "Poetry, essays, language, ideas"

Paris Review The Daily Blog

PBS News Hour Poetry onlineonline

PEN American Center The Freedom to Write

PennSound ongoing project of the University of Pennsylvania online

Perpetual Folly literature, writing, lit mags, opinion, review

Pete Lit Literary pretendings, off-the-cuff insights and the occasional rant

Poem Elf A blog of poems released from books and sent out into the world.

Poem Hunter

Poetry@Princeton Events calendar that aggregates poetry-related activities on and around campus, and to provoke discussion, collaboration, and an awareness of Princeton’s current poetry community.

Poetry 180 A Poem a Day for American High Schools Hosted by Billy Collins

The Poetry Assessor compare your poems with a set of 150 poems by poets published in mainstream publications

Poetry Centered curated selections from the University of Arizona's voca audiovisual archives online

Poetry Daily News poetry news

The Poetry Foundation Publisher of Poetry magazine, is an independent literary organization committed to a vigorous presence for poetry in our culture. onlineonline

Poetry International Web

Poets.org The Academy of American Poets

Poets & Writers Daily News

Poets House A national poetry library and literary center that invites poets and the public to step into the living tradition of poetry.

Poets Weave 5-minute weekly program featuring poets reading their own poems online

Powell's Books Blog

PR Newswire: Books Latest news about books and literature, including fiction, non-fiction, educational and children’s titles.

Practicing Writing Features opportunities and resources for fictionists, poets, and writers of creative nonfiction from Erika Dreifus.

Previews Picks (Comics)

Prolitfic "Spark your stories." (archives)

Publishers Weekly reviews, bookselling, news

Publishing Perspectives Online business magazine that covers the trends, people, and companies shaping the global book industry.

The Pushcart Prize

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Quill & Quire Monthly magazine of the Canadian book trade.

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The Reading Experience Feature extended literary criticism, including reviews, commentary on the literary scene, reflections on literary practice, and longer critical essays.

Reluctant Habits Devoted to books, films, arts, technology, and culture.

Review 31

The ReviewReview

The Rumpus We strive to be a platform for marginalized voices and writing that might not find a home elsewhere.

 

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The Seattle Review of Books

Selected Shorts weekly public broadcast radio of several fiction stories around a theme onlineonline

The Shatzkin Files Blog from a widely-acknowledged thought leader about digital change in the book publishing industry

She Writes The largest global online community of women writers

Shelf Awareness Publishes two newsletters, one for general readers and one for people in the book business

The Short Review reviews of new, not-quite-so-new, and classic collections (archives)

Six Questions For… Where editors and publishers discuss writing flash fiction, short stories, poetry, and novels.

SlushPile.net Brings you the latest in books-and-publishing news, interviews with authors and industry pros, and assorted rants and cheers about literature. (archives)

Slate Book Review

The Slowdown Podcast Every weekday, U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith delivers a different way to see the world – through poetry.

Small Press Distribution The only distributor in the country dedicated exclusively to independently published literature.

Small Press Picks recommended fiction titles from small presses

Small Press Reviews

Smashwords Blog Distributor of indie ebooks

Spectator USA Books Section

STORGY inspiring artistic collaboration and provide opportunities for creative minds

Student Press Law Center highlighting conflicts and controversies affecting the legal rights of the student press online

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Telegraph U.K. Books

Thin Air Video Poetry DVD Archive Beat Generation, NY School, Avantgarde, Contemporary Spoken Word online

Three Percent a place for students to present their translations and reviews with a weekly(ish) podcast hosted by Chad W. Post and Tom Roberge online

 

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VIDA Women in Literary Arts 

Virtual Memories Show monthly podcast about books with author interviews online

Vulture Books Section


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Washington Independent Review of Books A labor of love produced by dozens of writers and editors mostly in the Washington, DC, area who are frustrated by the disappearance of high-quality book reviews and book-review sections in major newspapers.

Washington Post book reviews, news

The Weekly Reader Author-interview radio program produced entirely by Minnesota State University, Mankato graduate students in creative writing. online

Winston-Salem Writers helping writers improve their craft and realize their goals

Women Writers, Women's Books an online journal dedicated to encouraging & promoting the visibility of women writers

WOW! Women On Writing Free eZine that promotes the communication between women writers and readers.

Write the Book The Vermont podcast and radio show about writing. online

Writer Beware A publishing industry watchdog group

Writer's Digest

Writers and Company The home of CBC Books, Canada Reads onlineonline

WritersCast interviews, readings, and discussions with writers online

Writers in Conversation featuring some of today’s best writers reading from their work and talking about their writing lifestyle online

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Your Artsy Girl Podcast hosted by Cristina Querrer, this podcast features talks on creativity and operates as a safe place for artists and writers to learn about others' creative processes and craft (archives) online

Zine Festivals and Small Press Fairs collection of zine fairs, festivals, DIY and small press related events


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3 Quarks Daily We present eight to twelve interesting items from around the web each day, in the areas of science, design, literature, current affairs, art, politics, philosophy, and anything else we deem inherently fascinating, including a daily poem chosen by our poetry editor, Jim Culleny.

49 Writers Nurturing emerging and established writers in a place increasingly recognized as a home to literary excellence.

826 Valencia A nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting under-resourced students with their writing skills.

The stories in Elegy on Kinderklavier explore the profound loss and intricate effects of war on lives that have been suddenly misaligned. A diplomat navigates a hostile political climate and an arranged marriage in an Israeli settlement on a newly discovered planet; a small town in Kansas shuns the army recruiter who signed up its boys as troops are deployed to Iraq; a family dissolves around mental illness and a child's body overtaken by cancer. In the lead story, the moment a soldier steps on an explosive device is miraculously and painfully reproduced, nanosecond by nanosecond. Arna Bontemps Hemenway's stories feel pulled out of time and place, and the suffering of his characters seem at once otherworldly and stunningly familiar.

Additional Info

  • Image Image
  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Bontemps Hemenway
  • Date Published July 2014
  • ISBN-13 978-936747-76-4
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 230pp
  • Price $15.95
In Gephyromania (literally, an addiction to or an obsession with bridges), Tolbert’s choice isn’t between female and male, lover and self, or loss and relief, but rather to live (willingly, intentionally) in the places where those binaries meet. Questions arise: Is a bridge simply an attempt to connect one (seemingly) stable body back to itself? Whose body—which embodiment—is absent when we say “I miss you”? And who is adored when we say “I love”? Sensing the parallels between a lover who leaves and his own female body as it chooses (as he chooses for it) to recede, the poems in Gephyromania explore the spaces between, among, across, and even within bodies.

Additional Info

  • Image Image
  • Book Type Poetry
  • by TC Tolbert
  • Date Published May 2014
  • ISBN-13 978-1-934103-52-4
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 96pp;
  • Price $18.00
June 12, 2014

Phoning Home

Phoning Home is a collection of entertaining and thought-provoking essays featuring the author's quirky family, his Jewish heritage, and his New York City upbringing. Jacob M. Appel's recollections and insights, informed and filtered by his advanced degrees in medicine, law, and ethics, not only inspire nostalgic feelings but also offer insight into contemporary medical and ethical issues.

Additional Info

  • Image Image
  • Book Type Nonfiction
  • by Jacob M. Appel
  • Date Published May, 2014
  • ISBN-13 978-1-61117-371-0
  • Format Hardcover
  • Pages 177pp
  • Price $24.95
The Pocket Guide to Divorce follows the tale of Mitch Higby through the cathartic exercise of creating a self-help book, outlining his struggles and tips for those going through similar experiences. The unique manner in which this novel is presented, part faux-self-help book and fiction work, slowly develops the character by incrementally releasing his true nature through the rise and fall of his marriage and the events that follow the aftermath. Mitch leads the reader through all of our deepest fears in relationships, marriage, reconstruction and house pets.

Additional Info

  • Image Image
  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Neil Connelly
  • Date Published September 2014
  • ISBN-13 978-1-94157621-2
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 123pp
  • Price $13.95
June 12, 2014

Quick Kills

Quick Kills chronicles the desperate longing to belong as well as the effects of neglect, familial absence, and the nature of secrets. The young female narrator is seduced by an older man who convinces her that she is the perfect subject for his photographs. Meanwhile, the narrator’s sister embarks on an equally precarious journey. Never clearly delineating the border between art and pornography, the narrator’s escalating disquiet is evidence that lines have been crossed.

Additional Info

  • Image Image
  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Lynn Lurie
  • Date Published October 2014
  • ISBN-13 978-0-9886922-8-2
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 109pp
  • Price $14.00
Me on the Floor, Bleeding, Jenny Jagerfeld, Stockholm Text

Every Day is Malala Day, Rosemary McCarney with Plan International, Second Story Press
Aftermath of Forever: How I Loved, Lost, and Found Myself, Natalye Childress, Microcosm Publishing

Confessions of a Book Burner: Personal Essays and Stories, Lucha Corpi, Arte Publico Press

Daddy Doin' Work, Doyin Richards, Jolly Fish Press

Inside My Own Skin, Guillaume de Fonclare, Hanging Loose Press

Messy Beautiful Love, Darlene Schacht, HarperCollins Publishers

Peter Orlovsky, a Life in Words: Intimate Chronicles of a Beat Writer, Peter Orlovsky, Paradigm Press

Phoning Home, Jacob M. Appel, Univ of South Carolina Press

Push: Pray Until Something Happens, Jurgen Matthesius, Nelson Publishers
The Amado Women, Desiree Zamorano, Cinco Puntos Press

At Fortunoff's: And Other Stories, Miguel Antonio Oritz, Hamilton Stone Editions

The Black Fountain Goddess, Jean Moynahan, Twilight Times Books

The Business of Naming Things, Michael Coffey, Bellevue Literary Press

Demigods on Speedway, Aurelie Sheehan, Univ of Arizona Press

Elegy on Kinderklavier, Arna Bontemps Hemenway, Sarabande Books

The Last Conception, Gabriel Constans, Melange Books

The Meaning of Names, Karen Gettert Shoemaker, Red Hen Press

Monastery, Eduardo Halfon, Bellevue Literary Press

The Nature of Truth, Sergio Troncoso, Arte Publico Press

The Pocket Guide to Divorce, Neil Connelly, Gorsky Press

Quick Kills, Lynn Lurie, Etruscan Press

River of Angels, Alejandro Morales, Arte Publico Press

Sibs, Nathan Leslie, Aqueous Books

Sweetness #9, Stephan Eirik Clark, Little, Brown & Co

When You Find Us We Willl Be Gone, Christopher Linforth, Lamar Univ Press

Whip & Spur, Iver Arnegard, Gold Line Press
]Exclosures[, Emily Abendroth, Ahsahta Press

Bird in the Hand, Lianne Spidel, Dos Madres

Candy in Our Brains, Anne Barngrover & Avni Vyas, Cutbank Books

Change Machine, Bruce Covey, Noemi Press

Church of the Adagio, Philip Dacey, Rain Mountain Press

The Complete Cinnamon Bay Sonnets, Andrew Kaufman, Rain Mountain Press

Drift, Caroline Bergvall, Nightboat Books

Everyone I Love is a Stranger to Someone: Annelyse, Annelyse Gelman, Write Bloody Publishing

The Feel Trio, Fred Moten, Letter Machine Edns

Gephyromania, TC Tolbert, Ahsahta Press

Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window, Jeffrey Bean, Southeast Missouri State Univ Press

Her Human Costume, Cynthia Marie Hoffman, Gold Line Press

Hibernaculum, Sean Patrick Hill, Slash Pine Press

Lake of Two Mountains, Arleen Pare, Brick Books

Lessons in Ruin, Justin Hamm, Aldrich Press

The Love Project: A Marriage Made in Poetry, Wanda Coleman & Austin Straus, Red Hen Press

Mad Honey Symposium, Sally Wen Mao, Alice James Books

Miklos Radnoti: The Complete Poetry in Hungarian and English, Miklos Radnoti, McFarland

Monk Eats an Afro, Yolanda Wisher, Hanging Loose Press

Note Left Like Silver on the Eyes of the Dead, Jeff Whitney, Slash Pine Press

Ordinary Hours, Karen Enns, Brick Books

Our Vanishing, Frannie Lindsay, Red Hen Press

Patter, Douglas Kearney, Red Hen Press

A Princess Magic Presto Spell, Lisa Jarnot, Solid Objects

The Prisoners, Ace Boggess, Brick Road Poetry Press

Proof, Karina Borowicz, Codhill Press

Retrograde, Puma Perl, Great Weather for Media

Ruins Assembling, Dennis Finnell, Shape&Nature Press

Sisters & Courtesans, Anna M. Evans, White Violet Press

Spectator, Kara Candito, Univ of Utah Press

Systems of Vanishing, Michael Hettich, Univ of Tampa Press

Titulada, Elena Minor, Noemi Press

Translations from Bark Beetle, Jody Gladding, Milkweed Editions

Twine, David Koehn, Bauhan Publishing

What Does a House Want?: Selected Poems, Gary Geddes, Red Hen Press

What They Took Away, Dennis James Sweeney, Cutbank Books

What We Take With Us, Susan Dworski Nusbaum, Coffeetown Press

The Wish Book, Alex Lemon, Milkweed Editions
June 23, 2014

NewPages Book Stand

New and forthcoming titles from independent book publishers and university presses. Blurbs provided by publishers.

 

New & Noteworthy

Posted September 23, 2020






Fiction
  • Fiction Posted September 23, 2020

    The Asthmatic Kid & Other Stories, Mark Tulin, Madville Publishing

    Notes on Mother Tongues: Colonialism, class, and giving what you don't have, Mirene Arsanios, Ugly Duckling Presse

    Sister of the Infamous, Jane Rosenberg LaForge, New Meridian Arts

    Three in the Morning and You Don't Smoke Anymore, Peter J. Stavros, Etchings Press

    You're in the Wrong Place, Joseph Harris, Wayne State University Press



Nonfiction
  • Nonfiction Posted September 23, 2020

    American Madness: The Story of the Phantom Patriot and How Conspiracy Theories Hijacked American Consciousness, Tea Krulos, Feral House

    Both Sides:  The Classroom From Where I Stand, Rebecca Potter, Propertius Press

    Dear Deedee, Kat Meads, Regal House Publishing

    The End, Aditi Machado, Ugly Duckling Presse

    Shook, Jennifer Hull, University of New Mexico Press

    Sky Songs: Meditations on Loving a Broken World, Jennifer Sinor, University of Nebraska Press

    So-Called Normal: A Memoir of Family, Depression, and Resilience, Mark Henick, HarperCollins

    Stand in the Traffic: A Himalayan Adoption Story, Kate Saunders, Madville Publishing

    Terrible Sanity, Sam Pickering, Madville Publishing

    Wildland Sentinel: Field Notes from an Iowa Conservation Officer, Erika Billerbeck, University of Iowa Press

    The Writing Party, Ken Waldman, Mezcalita Press


Poetry
  • Poetry Posted September 23, 2020

    Aflame, Gary McDowell, White Pine Press

    Blazes, Zack Grabosky, Foundlings Press

    The Cipher, Molly Brodak, Pleiades Press

    The Death Spiral, Sarah Giragosian, Black Lawrence Press

    Devil's Lake, Sarah M. Sala, Tolsun Books

    Divining, Brooke Sahni, Orison Books

    For All I Know, J.R. Solonche, Kelsay Books

    A Forest of Names: 108 Meditations, Ian Boyden, Wesleyan University Press

    I'll Fly Away, Rudy Francisco, Button Poetry

    A Juror Must Fold in on Herself, Kathleen McClung, Rattle

    Life Cycle of a Bear, Steven Kleinman, Anhinga Press

    Now It's Dark, Peter Gizzi, Wesleyan University Press

    Piano Music, J.R. Solonche, Serving House Books

    RENDANG, Will Harris, Wesleyan University Press

    Same Faces, Albert Mobilio, Black Square Editions

    Some Girls Walk into the Country They Are From, Sawako Nakayasu, Wave Books

    Sports Page, Ken Waldman, Lamar University Literary Press

    This Is Where I Live I Have Nowhere Else To Go, Dennis Hinrichsen, Grid Books

    Thornwork, Ruth Baumann, Black Lawrence Press

    The Time of Your Life, J.R. Solonche, Adelaide Books

    Trump Sonnets: Volume 5 - His Early Virus Monologues, Ken Waldman, Ridgeway Press

    Trump Sonnets: Volume 6 - His Middle Virus Soliloquy, Ken Waldman, Ridgeway Press

    Un-American, Hafizah Geter, Wesleyan University Press

    Working Title, Chuck Harp, Unsolicited Press

    Yi Sang: Selected Works, Ed. Don Mee Choi, Wave Books


The stories in A Different Harbor portray lives that have all the depth and wild weather of the Great Lakes. From a child who has lost his mother to a woman struggling to move on after a disastrous marriage, the characters in these stories flail for any chance to revive what they have lost. They collect fossils and watch old home videos; they retell their own most painful stories just for the sake of keeping them alive. Often, the best they can do is to acknowledge the latent beauty in loss itself—which just might be enough to carry them through.

Additional Info

  • Image Image
  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Elizabeth Genovise
  • Date Published May 2014
  • ISBN-13 9-781936-419388
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 72pp
  • Price $15.95
William Logan has been a thorn in the side of American poetry for more than three decades. Though he has been called the “most hated man in American poetry,” his witty and articulate reviews have reminded us how muscular good reviewing can be. These new essays and reviews take poetry at its word, often finding in its hardest cases the greatest reasons for hope.

Additional Info

  • Image Image
  • Subtitle The Dirty Art of Poetry
  • Book Type Nonfiction
  • by William Logan
  • Date Published April 2014
  • ISBN-13 978-0-231-16686-7
  • Format Hardcover
  • Pages 328pp
  • Price $35.00
May 15, 2014

In a New Century

For LGBT people in the United States, the twenty-first century has brought dramatic changes that would have been unimaginable to those living just a few decades ago. Yet, at the same time, the American political system has grown ever more conservative, and increasing economic inequality has been a defining feature of the new century. In this wide-ranging collection, John D’Emilio reflects upon the social, cultural, and political changes provoked by LGBT activism. In a New Century provides a dynamic, thoughtful, and important resource for identifying changes that have occurred in the United States since 1960, taking stock of the work that still needs to be done, and issuing an urgent call to action for getting there.

Additional Info

  • Image Image
  • Book Type Anthology
  • by Ed. John D'Emilio
  • Date Published May 2014
  • ISBN-13 978-0299297749
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 276pp
  • Price $27.95
May 15, 2014

Skin

Originally published in Slovenia in 2006, Skin is Tone Škrjanec’s first full-length collection to appear in English. Škrjanec’s poetic credo is not to be but to let be. His poems exist between the world of things and the mysteries of consciousness in language that is direct, shape-shifting, and lyrical. The underlying poetic procedure is assembly. His aim is to magnify and celebrate. His work is humming with the landscape, the city, and as the title suggests, the human body. Škrjanec’s is the poetry of a mindful observer.

Additional Info

  • Image Image
  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Tone Škrjanec
  • Date Published June 2014
  • ISBN-13 9-781935-635345
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 76pp
  • Price $17.00
In her first poetry collection, Rachel Mennies chronicles a young woman’s relationship with a complicated God, crafting a nuanced world that reckons with its past as much as it yearns for a new and different future. These poems celebrate ritual, love, and female sexuality; they bear witness to a dark history. Through wit and careful prosody, The Glad Hand of God Points Backwards lays bare the struggles and triumphs experienced through a teenage girl’s coming of age, showing the reader what it means to become—and remain—a Jewish woman in America.

Additional Info

  • Image Image
  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Rachel Mennies
  • Date Published March 2014
  • ISBN-13 978-0-89672-854-7
  • Format Hardcover
  • Pages 80pp
  • Price $21.95
In a New Century, Ed. John D'Emilio, Univ of Wisconsin Press
Me on the Floor, Bleeding, Jenny Jagerfeld, Stockholm Text

Severn and the Day She Silenced the World, Janet Wilson, Second Story Press
Demigods on Speedway, Aurelie Sheehan, Univ of Arizona Press

A Different Harbor, Elizabeth Genovise, Mayapple Press

Egg Heaven, Robin Parks, Shade Mountain Press

Elemental, Tara Mantel, Livingston Press

The Guest Cat, Takashi Hiraide, New Directions Books

The Legs of Izolda Morgan, Bruno Jasienski, Twisted Spoon Press

The Meaning of Names, Karen Gettert Shoemaker, Red Hen Press

Wait Your Turn & The Stability of Large Systems, Peter Grandbois, Wordcraft of Oregon

The Wilds, Julia Elliott, Tin House Books

Working Stiffs, George Dila, One Wet Shoe Media
Wild Ocean: Sharks, Whales, Rays, and Other Endangered Sea Creatures, Ed. Matt Dembicki, Fulcrum Publishing
Guilty Knowledge, Guilty Pleasure: The Dirty Art of Poetry, William Logan, Columbia Univ Press

Kosher Cuisine for a New Generation, Cantor Mitch, Scarletta Press

Literary Eats, Gary Scharnhorst, McFarland

Retrievals, Garett Caples, Wave Books

The Shelf: From LEQ to LES: Adventures in Extreme Reading, Phyllis Rose, Farrar Straus & Giroux

The TV Sutras, Dodie Bellamy, Ugly Duckling Presse
4 Rms w Vu, Susana H. Case, Mayapple Press

Any Anxious Body, Chrissy Kolaya, Broadstone Books

Beyond Fairy Tales: Poems in Concrete & Flesh, Maureen A. Sherbondy, Main Street Books

Broken Cage, Joseph P. Wood, Brooklyn Arts Press

Change Machine, Bruce Covey, Noemi Press

Deviants, Peter Kline, Stephen F. Austin State Univ

A Dictionary of Animal Symbols, M.V. Montgomery, Winter Goose Publishing

Drift, Caroline Bergvall, Nightboat Books

ECODEVIANCE, CAConrad, Wave Books

Errings, Peter Streckfus, Fordham Univ Press

Flight of August, Lawrence Eby, Trio House Press

Glass Armonica, Rebecca Dunham, Milkweed Editions

Gray Matter, Sara Michas-Martin, Fordham Univ Press

Keeping Me Still, Renee Emerson, Winter Goose Publishing

Lake of Two Mountains, Arleen Pare, Brick Books

Mad Honey Symposium, Sally Wen Mao, Alice James Books

Ordinary Hours, Karen Enns, Brick Books

Our Vanishing, Frannie Lindsay, Red Hen Press

Rain Shadow, Richard Taylor, Broadstone Books

Red Juice: Poems 1998 - 2008, Hoa Nguyen, Wave Books

Sisters & Courtesans, Anna M. Evans, White Violet Press

Skin, Tone Skrjanec, Tavern Books

Space Traveler, Benjamin S. Grossberg, Univ of Tampa Press

Split, Cathy Linh Che, Alice James Books

Systems of Vanishing, Michael Hettich, Univ of Tampa Press

Thing Music, Anthony McCann, Wave Books

Titulada, Elena Minor, Noemi Press

The Tranquilized Tongue, Eric Baus, City Lights Publishers

The Tribute Horse, Brandon Som, Nightboat Books

ULTRAMEGAPRAIRIELAND, Elisabeth Workman, Bloof Books

Under my Skin, Orville Lloyd Douglas, Guernica Editions

Underground: New and Selected Poems, Jim Moore, Graywolf Press

Wallless Space, Ernst Meister, Wave Books

Without Angels, Marjorie Stelmach, Mayapple Press

You're Going To Miss Me When You're Bored, Justin Marks, Barrelhouse
Meg Johnson’s poems have appeared in Hobart, The Puritan, San Pedro River Review, Sugar House Review, Wicked Alice, and others. She is currently the editor of Dressing Room Poetry Journal and an M.F.A. candidate in creative writing. “Half siren song, half battle cry, Meg Johnson’s Inappropriate Sleepover is a debut collection that coaxes us out of our tightly-zipped sleeping bags and keeps us up until dawn with poems that resonate, beguile, and delight. These are poems to keep for yourself, and to share with your very best friends.”—Mary Biddinger

Additional Info

  • Image Image
  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Meg Johnson
  • Date Published March 2014
  • ISBN-13 978-1-935716-34-1
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 68pp
  • Price $17.95
April 16, 2014

Out of Peel Tree

This innovative debut novel reveals the lives of a far-flung contemporary Appalachian family through a web of delicate turning points. A child discovers a grandmother she never knew has died. A runaway teen schemes to start a new life in Texas. A man on parole falls hopelessly in love with a shoplifter. United by a connection to their matriarch, these characters search at home and beyond to make a fresh sense of their changing lives. As a novel in stories, Out of Peel Tree brings a new lyricism to the page and a new voice to American and Appalachian literature—a voice deeply inflected by the beauty of the natural world and by working-class grit.

Additional Info

  • Image Image
  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Laura Long
  • Date Published April 2014
  • ISBN-13 978-1-940425-00-9
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 140pp
  • Price $16.99
An Abecedarium, from Zinnie Lucas, the voice of a family's historic tale. Zinnie grieves for her murdered father, shot by Paris Brumfield. A widowed mother attempts to avenge the death, and escapes to rebuild a new life away from a violent time and place, downriver. Author Sara Pennington is a native of West Virginia. She lives in the mountains of eastern Kentucky, where she is a community organizer. She holds degrees in English and creative writing from Marshall University, Ohio University, and Florida State University, from which she received her Ph.D. She has had poems published in The Southern Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, The Greensboro Review, Ninth Letter, and other journals. This is her first chapbook.

Additional Info

  • Image Image
  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Sara Pennington
  • Date Published February 2014
  • ISBN-13 978-0-984-1928-8-5
  • Format Chapbook
  • Pages 36pp
  • Price $9.00
April 16, 2014

Quality Snacks

In a wide range of forms and tones, the fifteen stories in Andy Mozina’s new collection center on high-stakes performances by characters trying to gratify both deep and superficial needs, often with unexpected consequences. Desperate to find a full-time job, a pizza delivery man is fooled into a humiliating sexual demonstration by a couple at a Midway Motor Lodge. A troubled young man tries to end his father’s verbal harassment by successfully hunting a polar bear. And in the title story, a flavor engineer at Frito-Lay tries to win his boss’s heart with a new strategy for Doritos that aims to reposition the brand from snack food to main course.

Additional Info

  • Image Image
  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Andy Mozina
  • Date Published May 2014
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8143-4015-8
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 216pp
  • Price $18.99
April 16, 2014

Sixty Morning Talks

Sixty Morning Talks provides sixty transcribed interviews with poets who released books in 2012. Rather than advance an overarching argument concerning “the state of poetry,” this book engages a broad range of authors often subdivided into ideological, aesthetic, generational, national and identity-based camps, and taps the accessibility of vernacular speech to offer new means of comparative study, cross-reference and discursive collaboration.

Additional Info

  • Image Image
  • Book Type Nonfiction
  • by Andy Fitch
  • Date Published March 2014
  • ISBN-13 978-1-937027-20-9
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 320pp
  • Price $25.00
The Fatherlands, Michael Trocchia, Monkey Puzzle Press

Flood, J. Bruce Fuller, Swan Scythe Press

Fugitive Blues, Debra Kang Dean, Moon City Press

Presences, Caroline Collins, Parallel Press
Camp Outlook, Brenda Baker, Second Story Press

Dalia's Wondrous Hair/El cabello maravilloso de Dalia, Laura Lacamara, Arte Publico Press

Finding Grace, Becky Citra, Second Story Press

Hit It, Hit It, Hit It: A Fiesta of Numbers/Dale, dale, dale: Una fiesta de numerous, Rene Saldana, Jr., Arte Publico Press

La poeta del piso de arriba, Judith Oritz Cofer, Arte Publico Press

Soldier Doll, Jennifer Gold, Second Story Press
The Inevitable June, Bob Schofield, theNewerYork Press

Starlight in Two Million, Amy Catanzano, Noemi Press
American Innovations, Rivka Galchen, Farrar Straus & Giroux

And Your Bird Can Sing, Robert Miltner, Bottom Dog Press

Annihilation, Jeff VanderMeer, Farrar Straus & Giroux

The Ants, Sawako Nakayasu, Les Figues Press

The Beast in the Red Forest: An Inspector Pekkala Novel of Suspense, Sam Eastland, Opus

Close, Erika Raskin, Harvard Square Editions

The Devil Takes Half, Leta Serafim, Coffeetown Press

Eight Mile High, Jim Ray Daniels, Michigan State Univ Press

The Full Ridiculous, Mark Lamprell, Soft Skull Press

Hush Now, Don't Explain, Dennis Must, Coffeetown Press

The Itinerant Girls' Guide to Self-Hypnosis, Joanna Penn Cooper, Brooklyn Arts Press

John the Revelator, TJ Beitelman, Black Lawrence Press

Kafka at Rudolf Steiner's, Rosalind Palermo Stevenson, Rain Mountain Press

Making Callaloo in Detroit, Lolita Hernandez, Wayne State Univ Press

Medea, Richard Matturro, Livingston Press

Out of Peel Tree, Laura Long, Vandalia Press

Prosperity, B.J. Leggett, Livingston Press

Quality Snacks, Andy Mozina, Wayne State Univ Press

The Shimmering Go-Between, Lee Klein, Atticus Books

Sinking Suspicions, Sara Sue Hoklotubbe, Univ of Arizona Press

Spheres of Disturbance, Amy Schutzer, Red Hen Press

Story Hour & Other Stories, Robert Flanagan, Bottom Dog Press

Strange Love, Lisa Lenzo, Wayne State Univ Press

Theories of Forgetting, Lance Olsen, Univ of Alabama Press

Triplines, Leonard Chang, Black Heron Press

The Wes Letters, Feliz Lucia Molina, Ben Segal, Brett Zehner, Outpost 19

The World's Smallest Bible, Dennis Must, Red Hen Press
The Art of Daring: Risk, Restlessness, Imagination, Carl Phillips, Graywolf Press

Hope Rising, Scott C. Todd, Nelson Books

Sixty Morning Talks: Serial Interviews with Contemporary Authors, Andy Fitch, Ugly Duckling Presse

Xylotheque, Yelizaveta P. Renfro, Univ of New Mexico Press
All Movies Love the Moon: Prose Poems on Silent Film, Gregory Robinson, Rose Metal Press

American Psalm, World Psalm, Nicholas Samaras, Ashland Poetry Press

Anatomical Theater, Andrei Sen-Senkov, Zephyr Press

The Awkward Poses of Others, Robert E. Wood, WordTech Editions

Bastard Heart, Raphael Dagold, Silverfish Review Press

A Boot's a Boot, Lesle Lewis, Cleveland State Univ Poetry Ctr

Bottomland, Laressa Dickey, Shearsman Books

Century Swept Brutal, Zach Savich, Black Ocean

Child Sings in the Womb, Patrick, Lawler, Bitter Oleander Press

The Constitution, Brian Foley, Black Ocean

Corridor, Saskia Hamilton, Graywolf Press

The Courier's Archive & Hymnal, Joshua Marie Wilkinson, Sidebrow Books

Crownfeathers and Effigies, Jerry Bradley, Lamar Univ Press

Detroit as Barn, Crystal Williams, Lost Horse Press

Echo, Christina Lovin, Bottom Dog Press

For Another Writing Back, Elaine Bleakney, Sidebrow Books

Gazelle in the House, Lisa Williams, New Issues Poetry & Prose

The Glad Hand of God Points Backwards, Rachel Mennies, Texas Tech Univ Press

Guantanamo, Frank Smith, Les Figues Press

Guernica, revisited, Richard Vargas, Press 53

Hustle, David Thomas Martinez, Sarabande Books

Inappropriate Sleepover, Meg Johnson, National Poetry Review

Into Daylight, Jeffrey Harrison, Tupelo Press

La Far, Eric Linsker, Univ of Iowa Press

Landscape with Plywood Silhouettes, Kerrin McCadden, New Issues Poetry & Prose

Money Money Money Water Water Water, Jane Mead, Alice James Books

My Favorite Tyrants, Joanne Diaz, Univ of Wisconsin Press

The Primer of Zinnie Lucas, Sara Pennington, Cooper Dillon Books

A Princess Magic Presto Spell, Lisa Jarnot, Solid Objects

Questions About Home, Cynthia Brackett-Vincent, Encircle Publications

Redemption, Lee Passarella, FutureCycle Press

Same Old Story, Dawn Potter, CavanKerry Press

Six Portraits, Julie Danho, Slapering Hol Press

Songs for a Summons, David Guterson, Lost Horse Press

Stop Wanting, Lizzie Harris, Cleveland State Univ Poetry Ctr

Strings Attached, Diane Decillis, Wayne State Univ Press

Vivarium, Natasha Saje, Tupelo Press

Waiting at the Dead End Diner, Rebecca Schumejda, Bottom Dog Press

Walking in on People, Melissa Balmain, Able Muse Press

What the Neighbors Know, Melanie McCabe, FutureCycle Press

When the World was Rear-Wheel Drive: New Jersey Poems, Timothy Walsh, Main Street Rag Pub Co

Your Moon, Ralph Angel, New Issues Poetry & Prose
Amnesia of the Movement of Clouds & Of Red and Black Verse, two books published in a single volume, is the first full-length English translation of work by contemporary Sicilian poet Maria Attanasio. Drawing on her training as a philosopher and deep reader of German Expressionist and French Surrealist poetry, her visionary work dwells on contemporary selfhood in a technologically driven age, reflecting how such selfhood is set against the desolate political and existential void of a new century, one she describes as “the god of … indifference,” “the great amnesia.” Attanasio’s landscapes are as dreamlike as they are realistic, carved by a sculptural language that seeks to uncover the historical and political strata of everyday life.

Additional Info

  • Image Image
  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Maria Attanasio
  • Date Published February 2014
  • ISBN-13 978-1-933959-42-9
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 199pp
  • Price $18.00
An Archaeology of Yearning explores a father’s effort to understand a family landscape altered by autism. Ultimately, however, the book is not about autism; it is about the central role of storytelling in sustaining human connections and the power of shared desires in embracing difference. Bruce Mills has published scholarly books and articles on nineteenth-century American writings and co-edited a collection of essays by siblings of those on the autism spectrum. His creative nonfiction has appeared in The Georgia Review and New England Review, among others.

Additional Info

  • Image Image
  • Book Type Nonfiction
  • by Bruce Mills
  • Date Published November 2013
  • ISBN-13 978-0983934691
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 146pp
  • Price $15.00
March 14, 2014

Invisible Beasts

Sophie is an amateur naturalist with a rare genetic gift: the ability to see a marvelous kingdom of invisible, sentient creatures that share a vital relationship with humankind. To record her observations, Sophie creates a personal bestiary and, as she relates the strange abilities of these endangered beings, her tales become extraordinary meditations on love, sex, evolution, extinction, truth, and self-knowledge. In the tradition of E.O. Wilson’s Anthill, Invisible Beasts is inspiring, philosophical, and richly detailed fiction grounded by scientific fact and a profound insight into nature.

Additional Info

  • Image Image
  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Sharona Muir
  • Date Published July 2014
  • ISBN-13 9781934137802
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 256pp
  • Price $14.95
March 14, 2014

Out of Place

Richard Jackson is the author of eleven books of poetry, two books of criticism, and two translations, one from Slovene and one from Italian. He is a winner of Guggenheim, Fulbright, NEA, NEH and Witter-Bynner Fellowships, five Pushcart appearances, as well as prizes from Prairie Schooner, Rattle and Crazyhorse. Jackson’s poems have been translated into 15 languages. He was a recipient of the Slovene Order of Freedom Award for Humanitarian and Literary work in the Balkans and recipient of the 2009 AWP George Garrett Award. Jackson has taught at the Iowa Summer Festival, Prague Summer Program, Bread Loaf and other venues, and teaches at UT Chattanooga and the Vermont College of Fine Arts low residency program, winning teaching awards at both schools.

Additional Info

  • Image Image
  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Richard Jackson
  • Date Published April 2014
  • ISBN-13 978-0-912592-77-0
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 104pp
  • Price $15.95
This anthology gathers an intriguing range of poets and artists, their visions and voices, exploring the variances in Michigan landscape; shoreline; lives lived in the city, town, and countryside; our uncommon diversity of cultures, points of view, concerns, celebrations, losses, and histories. “I could celebrate every single poem in here—a rare statement to make about any anthology. Leave it to the poets to find the heart of a place. This book will make you fall in love with Michigan all over again, or for the first time.”—Jim Daniels

Additional Info

  • Image Image
  • Book Type Anthology Edited
  • by William Olsen, Jack Ridi
  • Date Published September 2013
  • ISBN-13 978-1-936970-16-2
  • Format Hardcover
  • Pages 203pp
  • Price $40.00
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