December-January double issue of The Brooklyn Raill is here!

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Well, it took some work, but the December-January double issue of The Brooklyn Raill is finally here. It’s our biggest issue of the year, and our Books section is chock-full of literary goodies.

Critic David Winters reviews the début novel, “Bird,” by acclaimed short-story writer NOY HOLLAND. Poet and critic Tony Leuzzi offers an extraordinarily insightful review of TERESE SVOBODA’s “When the Next Big War Blows Down the Valley: Selected and New Poems.” Two of our reviewers consider new books in the context of genre: Darley Stewart discusses micro-fiction in her review of GRANT FAULKNER’s “Fissures: One Hundred 100-Word Stories.”

And novelist, essayist, short-story writer, and critic John Domini, in a bold, rigorous, and unflinching piece of literary criticism, ascribes the term “minimalist” to recent work from two New York writers: GREG GERKE’s début “My Brooklyn Writer Friend” and ROBERT LOPEZ’s newest story collection “Good People.”  J. T. Price works overtime delivering two reviews for this issue, covering ADRIENNE CELT’s “original (and) risk-taking” début novel “The Daughters,” as well as a new reprint of LUCY DAWSON’s “Dogs As I See Them.” Brendan Garrison covers “Speculation, Now: Essays and Artwork,” an anthology of essays by over fifty professionals, scholars, and artists, edited by Vyjayanthi Venuturupalli Rao, Prem Krishnamurthy, and Carin Kuoni. Davy Knittle covers MICHAEL GIZZI’s “Collected Poems.” Jack Finnegan covers POPE FRANCIS’s “Encyclical on Climate Change and Inequality: On Care for Our Common Home.” Artie Niederhoffer reviews MARIE KONDO’s “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” and KENYA HARA’s “Designing Design.” Ashley Phillips Taylor covers SARAH L. KAUFMAN’s “The Art of Grace: On Moving Well Through Life.” Yvonne C. Garrett reviews ANAKANA SCHOFIELD’s second novel “Martin John.” Author David Winner discusses PATRICIA HIGHSMITH’s “The Price of Salt,” in the context of TODD HAYNE’s new film “Carol.” Christen Clifford reviews VIVIAN GORNICK’s new memoir “The Odd Woman and The City.” And Katie Rogin reviews JESSA CRISPIN’s “The Dead Ladies Project: Exiles, Expats & Ex-Countries.”

We’re excited to introduce a new feature for both readers and writers interested in knowing more about how authors do what they do on the page: a roundup of recent books on the craft of writing. Electric Literature’s Catherine LaSota covers five recent titles by MARY KARR, CHRISTOPHER CASTELLANI, PETER TURCHI, JOHN CASEY, and DINTY MOORE.

Our In Conversation series of artists talking to other artists continues with Robert Polito talking with JILL DEARMAN about her début novel “The Great Bravura.” Valya Dudycz Lupescu talks with Nebula-award nominee MATTHEW KRESSEL about “King of Shards,” the first installment of his Worldmender trilogy. (Along with Ellen Datlow, Kressel hosts the long-running KGB reading series Fantastic Fiction.) Melissa Febos talks to RYAN BERG about his début “No House to Call My Home: Love, Family, and Other Transgressions.” Lux Sommers talks with novelist AMY KOPPELMAN about “Hesitation Wounds,” Koppelman’s newest. Diego Gerard talks with PAUL CHAN about Sarah Ruden’s new translation of Plato’s “Hippias Minor or The Art of Cunning.” Michael Montlack talks with SORAYA SHALFOROOSH about her recent collection of poems “This Version of Earth,” from Barrow Street Press. And finally Rob Kenagy talks with MATTHEW VOLLMER about Vollmer’s newest story collection “Gateway to Paradise.”

Love to hear what you think.

Huge thanks to Katie RolnickLaila PedroSusan ShapiroNancy Hightower for all the help and support.

Thursday, Oct. 22nd, 2015, 8 PM — Helping launch new Brooklyn reading series!

Join us this Thursday, Oct. 22nd, 8 PM, Brooklyn, for the launch of HIP Lit’s new monthly salon series happening in “The Hideaway,” the lofted literary love-nest upstairs at Be Electric Studios in Brooklyn. Come check out this new space and reading series. I’ll be reading alongside Matthew Vollmer Carmiel Banasky, and Nancy Hightower, all of whom have new books out, which will be for sale on Thursday. Please join us in initiating this space with an evening of readings, good company, and a whole lotta lofted love. Free Admission. BYOB.

HUGE thanks to Brittney Inman CantyErin Harris, and Kim Perel.

https://www.facebook.com/events/411189809078297/Hideaway

Word Wednesday

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No better day to start my new weekly language post, which I’m calling “Word Wednesday” (and which is really just going to be a place for me and other like-minded folks (students, teachers, writers, everyone and anyone basically) to riff about words and sentences with currency in the arts, culture, and politics) than on the day that that great poet Yogi Berra passed away. Not only did I grow up with him as the namesake of my favorite cartoon character, but I used his last name for the ghoulish protagonist in my first short story, written in 3rd grade for Mrs. Roach, called “Gravedigger Blues.” (His name was “Paul Berra.” Clever, right?)

To kick off ‪#‎wordwednesday‬, I’m going to share my favorite Yogi-Berra-ism that Yogi Berra never ism-ed. Rather, it was said by an old Italian guy whom I worked with one summer when I was roofing my way through school and toward melanoma-ed shoulders who once said the following to me when I came back from doing the lunch run with the wrong sandwich: “Hey, kid, that just goes to show: You can lead a gift horse to water, but you can’t look in its mouth.” I think Mr. Berra would have approved. If there’s a heaven for those guys, I hope they’re being introduced to each other as I type these words.

If anyone has any other Yogi-Berra-isms to share for #wordwednesday, whether uttered by Mr. Berra or not, please share the word wealth.

@ToolsNotRules

@jasalvatore

Enroll in my grammar course at The New School in NYC, called Tools, Not Rules.

Hosting Small Press Night at Housing Works Bookstore Cafe, NYC, Thurs., July 30, 2015, 7 PM

Excited to be hosting this HWthis Thursday evening. It’s a great treat for me both because my own story collection came out from an independent publisher, the incredible BOA Editions, and because I get to introduce and listen to a night of poetry from three great independent presses, Sarabande BooksSibling Rivalry Press, and Saturnalia Books. With readings by Kathleen OssipDavid Tomas MartinezRalph Hamilton, and Debbie Kuan.

Join us in celebrating small presses in general and these independent publishers and authors in particular, this Thursday, 7 PM, at Housing Works, 126 Crosby St, NYC.

https://www.facebook.com/events/1456156664700814/

Speaking on 2015 Writer’s Digest Annual Conference panel, Sat. Aug. 1st, 2015, 2:20-3:20 PM

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Incredibly honored and excited to participate in the 2015 Writer’s Digest Annual Conference.

Screen Shot 2015-06-29 at 9.13.15 AMI’ll be speaking on a panel titled “HOW, WHEN & WHY TO SWITCH WRITING GENRES,” to be moderated by the brilliant and amazing Susan Shapiro, featuring such talented writers, agents, and editors as Caroline LeavittNaomi Rosenblatt, Seth Kugal, Daniel Menaker, Ayesha Pande. 

Join us!

Saturday, August 1st, 2:20-3:20 PM. “No matter how much you love journalism, fiction, nonfiction, YA, self-help or poetry, it can only benefit you to stretch your literary muscles and make more money by publishing in a different arena (or two.) For example, John Updike wrote short stories, novels, essays, art criticism and he even drew his own New Yorker illustrations! Moderated by an author of 10 books (who reinvents herself every 5 years), this panel includes top literary agents, book editors and bestselling authors who will reveal the secrets of successful reinvention and why you might want to consider moonlighting too.”

NYC Literary Life

Last night I attended the excellent Franklin Park Reading Series and said excuse me to over a hundred people; I stepped back and made way for bar staff and bar-goers a hundred and fifty-eight times; I failed to say hello to the very person I had really wanted to say hello to; I drank broken glass (long story: I actually took the piece out of my mouth from my tongue to show the bartender, who was super sweet about it all); I got rained on and waited forever for the subway and then tried to read a book on the train while the person sitting next to me ate the entire meal she had bought before boarding that train, taking time to dip each french fry into one of the many, many small plastic ramekins that contained a green gelatinous stuff that she said was avacado-mayo, which, she told me, she loved. She had been starving since this morning, she said. She used wobbly black plastic cutlery to cut into a medium-rare burger and dense onions and tomatoes, but only half the bun. Yet, earlier that night, I had heard some of the very best writing read aloud that I’d heard in a while, read by some of the most engaging and talented people I had heard read in a while, and so tonight I am going to do it all over again. Because that’s my choice — and it feels good, that choice. Tonight I will be attending the LIC Reading Series, to see Megan Abbott and Mark Doten and Lisa Marie Basile, and to be charmed by the grand host Catherine LaSota. I will bring an umbrella and I will arrive early and I will look at the rim of my stout’s pint glass before I lower my mouth to sip. https://www.facebook.com/events/1569081553365526/Queens-Future

Reading at launch party for “A Book of Uncommon Prayer” anthology at Housing Works, NYC, Tues., May 19, 2015, 7 PM

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I’m so ABookofUncommonPrayer-MVollmer-coverexcited to be reading alongside some of my favorite writers, as we celebrate the release of “A Book of Uncommon Prayer,” an anthology of everyday invocations by 64 authors, edited by Matthew Vollmer, published by Outpost 19.

Join us at Housing Works Bookstore Cafe, Tues., May 19, 7pm, for a launch party and brief readings by Jaime Clarke, Christy Crutchfield, Catherine Lacey, J. Robert Lennon, Ariel Lown Lewiton, Robert LopezCourtney Maum, Rick Moody, Dawn Raffel, Joseph Salvatore, Benjamin Samuel and more. Hosted by J. Robert Lennon.

https://www.facebook.com/events/362618447277521/

Reading to launch the LIC Reading Series in Queens, this Tuesday, April 14th, 8PM

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Had to enlist a fellow Queens resident to pose for this backboard on Northern Blvd. deep in the heart of our fair borough. For on this coming Tuesday, April 14th, at 8pm,Queens-Future I’ll be reading along with two other talented Queens residents to launch a new monthly reading series in Long Island City, Queens. In the lovely carriage house in the back of LIC Bar (45-58 Vernon Boulevard, Long Island City, NY 11101), the LIC Reading Series will be hosting readings by Bill Cheng, Audrey Dimola, and yours truly. The event is FREE! And there will be books for sale from Astoria Bookshop, and drinks for sale by the awesome LIC Bar bartenders. There will be some other hijinks, as well. Join us!

Great thanks to Catherine LaSota!

https://www.facebook.com/events/323953097815668/

— in Queens, New York.

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