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InDigest 1207 Tonight

Attention New Yorkers!!

Tonight is InDigest 1207, again. We've got two great readers tonight: James Hannaham, author of God Says No [McSweeneys, 2009] and Ricardo Alberto Maldonado, who has a couple of poems that will appear in the very next issue of InDigest.

As always, the revelry starts at 6pm and the reading will start at 7pm at (le) Poisson Rouge on Bleecker.

There is a new issue of InDigest - And a New Site For You to Check out

Dear Readers and InDigest Enthusiasts,

After months of hard work by our small and dedicated staff and a designer/programmer team whose talents are innumerable, InDigest is back and by far better than ever. With a new monthly column by Alex Lemon, poetry by Matt Hart and Rodrigo Toscano, fiction from J.C. Hallman, Poet Ada Limón and Okkervil River frontman Will Sheff InDialogue, and so much more, this welcome-back issue is amazing, and we feel, well worth the wait.

In other news, InDigest 1207 has been happening all along and will continue tomorrow night at (le) Poisson Rouge in New York City with the writers James Hannaham (author of God Says No from McSweeneys) and Ricardo Alberto Maldonado. You can also consider this reading a preview of December's Poetics section of InDigest, in which Maldonado's poems will appear. As with all 1207s there will be a happy hour starting at 6pm, with the reading starting around 7pm. This 1207 will also be a celebration of the new site, so get there early and help us celebrate.

Now back to the new issue. Enjoy!

InDialogue: Ada Limón and Will Sheff
The poet Ada Limón sat down with Will Sheff of Okkervil River in a conversation that "spirals into more of an ethereal dialogue about the struggles of the artist’s life and how one attempts to remain anchored in a world of constant over-stimulation." Also, we've reprinted our interview with Reverend Billy, "Beware the Shopocalypse." He's the Green Party candidate for Mayor of New York City, so we thought it appropriate.

Erratica: A New Monthly Column from Alex Lemon, as well as columns on Art, Theater, and Books.
We are very pleased to have past Poetics contributor Alex Lemon back with a new monthly column, "A Visit to Planet Lemtron." Alex's memoir, Happy, one of the most anticipated books of the year, is due out in late December. You'll also find new columns on Theater and Art, as well as your old favorite, Bedside Stacks. It's like coming home again, isn't it?

Music: A Tour Diary from Peter Silberman of The Antlers & Two New Music Columns.
Peter Silberman gives an inside look at the strangeness of touring: "By now we’re starting to think alike. Making the same movements, wanting the same food, reacting to things the same way. We call it 'tour brain,' and the further in we get, the harder it is to divorce." Also: Two music columns premier, discussing Zak Sally's debut solo album, "Fear of Song," and just what makes "Someone Great" by LCD Soundsystem such a great song.

Poetics: Featuring Poems by Matt Hart, Rodrigo Toscano, Isaac Sullivan, and Fredrick Zydek.
From Matt Hart's "Waking Fit":

At last the dawn. The dawn cuts up.
And I can almost breathe again. The breath
goes smoke again. It’s a smoke like balloons
when they’re clearing their throats.

And, for the first time on InDigest, watch a poem!

Narratives: Stories from J.C. Hallman and Nonfiction from Charles Greene.
Two stories from J.C. Hallman's collection The Hospital for Bad Poets (Milkweed Editions) and an essay on the influence of tv on identity and race, "My Life on TV."

Gallery: The work of Alexandra Compain-Tissier
Paris-based illustrator and painter Alexandra Compain-Tissier’s work is both classic and perhaps low-fi in style, but modern in context. It’s not shiny or computer generated, like so many of her contemporaries. Her work weaves between the worlds of fine art and illustration, ranging from painting exhibitions, editorial assignments, music videos, and creating shoes and perfume bottles for a massive department store campaign for Saks Fifth Avenue.

As always, thanks for reading,

David & Dustin
InDigest Editors

InDigest Blog Has Moved

Go HERE for the latest from InDigest.


What We've Been Reading

I'm not reading a whole lot right now, as it's the midterm season and I'm just doing a lot of school work. However, I did finish In Cold Blood and I'm nearly done with The Beginning of the Fields, and neither book has disappointed.

I think the most interesting thing I've read recently is a short story by David Foster Wallace called "Good People." It was published in that creaky bastion of glossy high lit, The New Yorker, sometime in 2007. I'm a big fan of David Foster Wallace's writing, having read most everything he's written (save for his 1990 co-authored nonfiction book, Signifying Rappers, and his nigh-impossible to find book on infinity, Everything and More.) The story is exceedingly simple and incredibly sincere and heartfelt. I don't want to say too much about it, as the discovery of the conflict and the characters is surprising and moving. But it made me mourn the loss of a man and a writer who was clearly moving into new and interesting territory.


Have You Done Something Nice For Your Mailbox Recently?

Anna and Tess Knoebel over at Abe's Penny have been nice enough to send me some issues of their "Micro-Magazine." Every issue is four postcards (one a week for a month) that appear almost magically in your mailbox and bring together a photographer and a writer. It's an interesting project in this time when everyone who's doing something in the art and lit worlds are looking for interesting ways to present their work to people and actually have those people look at it.

Check out more at abespenny.com.

(below: 1.7 featuring Skye Parrott and Katherine Krause)


InDigest Picks

Invisibleby Paul Auster [Henry Holt]
+ Paul Auster's 15th novel is a structural marvel. Constructed ni four parts twisted like rope, the novel is part diary, part novel within a novel, part memoir-ish narrative. It's a complicated, insular novel that plays on the reader's expectations from a novel within a novel and the author's constant fight against reality and coincidence for the best subject matter. In the way that the wild happenings in a newspaper can feel forced or trite in a novel, Auster here utilizes the notion of a real life narrative told in a non-literary fashion (from one vantage point). He plays with the notion of coincidence and have that works on the page versus reality. He plays fantasy against memory and reality in a novel of both large and small scale drama that is surprising from the first to the last.

The Jazz Ear: Conversations over Musicby Ben Ratliff [Henry Holt]
+ New York Times jazz critic Ben Ratliff sits down to listen to music with some of jazz's biggest stars in this collection of essays. With the project Ratliff asks jazz legends to pick a few songs and sit down with him to listen. The music could be damn near anything, the only requirement is that the artist he is listening with did not play on the album. The resulting conversations are fascinating as the masters of the form talk about song structure and what makes a great recording. The conversations range from Ornette Coleman to Wayne Shorter to Pat Metheny, bouncing all over the place: Shorter's odd ramblings to Metheny's insistence that "glue" is what makes music work. This is must read material for any jazz aficionado, or even a great place to start if you just want to understand how to listen better.

Other Notable Releases: Last Night in Twisted River by John Irving, The Book of Basketball: The NBA According to the Sports Guy by Bill Simmons

Poems of the Black Objectby Ronaldo V. Wilson [Futurepoem]
+ Wilson's newest collection of poetry pulsates in your hand. It feels edgy, even provocative. The book is constructed in parts, any one of which would have made a marvelous chapbook, but together the collection is something far more magnificent. I was a fan of Wilson's previous collection, Narrative of the Brown Boy and the White Man, which itself was not too tame, but I get the sense that this is the first time his voice has emerged as a fully formed being. There is something happening in this collection, the same way that you find O' Hara's distinct voice in Lunch Poems, Poems of the Black Object feels like this is Wilson's true voice. Raw, gruff, coy, elusive, playful and blunt.

Pelican - What We All Come To Need [Southern Lord]
+ Pelican continue to carve a special place in my heart with this release. Their unique brand of instrumental metal sounds as good as they've ever sounded on What We All Come to Need. Eight new tracks of sludgy, head-banging post-rock-cum-metal. This is a beautiful record.

Glass Ghost - Idol Omen [Western Vinyl]
+ Glass Ghost's newest album is somewhat reminiscent of Spoon's Kill the Moonlight. It really doesn't sound anything like it aesthetically, but there is that odd minimalist construction with occasional hooks tossed around, feeling natural, as though this all comes easily. Idol Omen will make my shortlist of albums that just aren't going to get enough love this year. A slightly esoteric list, I know.

Other Notable Releases: Between the Buried and Me - The Great Misdirect, Kings of Convenience - Declaration of Dependence, Morrissey - Swords, The Sight Below - Murmur EP, Sting - If on a Winter's Night..., Sun Ra - The Heliocentirc Worlds of Sun Ra Vol. 1,Teagan and Sara - Sainthood, Weezer - Raditude

In Theaters:
Skin (Anthony Fabian) [Elysian Films]
+ Skin has a lot of positive buzz going, not that that is always worth something, or indicative of anything. The film is heavy on the drama, but the stellar performances rise to the challenge. If you're trying to keep up with the Oscar bait that is trickling out already, you'll need to watch this one.

Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day (Troy Duffy) [Apparition / Sony]
+ So, I haven't actually seen this one, but I'm a sucker for the original Boondock Saints and it's kitschy appeal. The gun-battles, the subdued story of vengeance. It's not a perfect film, but it executes the familiar revenge-of-the-common-man story well enough to make me excited. A sequel? Well, maybe it's not necessary, but I'm certainly interested.

Other Notable Releases: Gentleman Broncos (Jared Hess), The House of the Devil (Ti West), Micheal Jackson's This is It

Z(Costa Gavras) [Criterion]
+ Criterion gives the royal treatment to Gavras' masterpiece. It's a film of political upheaval and great power on the scale of The Battle of Algiers. If you didn't get to catch it last year when it made the rounds to theaters again then it's time.

Check out this great essay on Z at the Criterion website.

Fear(s) of the Dark(Etienne Robial, Blutch, Charles Burns and more) [MPI Home Video]
+ It's a perfect weekend to rent Fear(s) of the Dark, a film that brings together 6 visionary comic artists to create short pieces centering on fear. It's strikingly beautiful, a pinnacle of modern animation. This is a great film for any time, but you probably couldn't get a better film for a Saturday night in, because I'm sure you aren't going out on Halloween.

Other Notable Releases: Whatever Works (Woody Allen), Death in the Garden (Luis Bunuel), Orphan (Jaume Collet-Serra), The Maiden Hiest (Peter Hewitt), Il Divo (Paolo Sorrentino), Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs,

Hulk Vol. 3: Hulk No More(Jeph Loeb) [Marvel]
+ Jeph Loeb has made me interested in a series that has never previously interested me. Hulk (the series), in Loeb's hands, has given birth to the Red Hulk, an even more evil version of Bruce Banner's Hulk with origins we aren't quite sure about. The series has also brought about the thrilling decline of Bruce Banner, and I get the sense that this series is a ways from hitting it's stride. This volume collects issues #10-13 and Incredible Hulk #600. Red Hulk and his team, The Offenders, battle The Defenders, Hulk and Namor's team of heroes. It's a great lead in to the final decline of Banner.

Invincible Iron Man Vol. 2: World's Most Wanted, Part 1(Matt Fraction) [Marvel]
+ If only we could guarantee that the upcoming second installment of the Iron Man films was as engaging as this collection. With Norman Osborn taking over the government Tony Stark starts to try and erase all the information he acquired during the Superhero Registration Act while he was acting head of S.H.I.E.L.D. The final database is in his head, as he destroys each Iron Man suit and starts to erase parts of his memory he has to try and fight Osborn's goons while trying to just remember his name.

Other Notable Releases: Batman #692, Batman: The Widening Gyre #3 (of 6), Captain America Reborn #4, Dark Avengers: Ares #1, Dark Reign - The List: Punisher #1, Dark Reign - The List: Wolverine #1, The Flash: Rebirth #5 (of 6), Hulk #16, Kick Ass #8

Please Note: For some of the above recommendations we receive free review copies. It is InDigest's belief that negative reviews aren't worth as much as a positive review. Why tell you what not to do, when there are some great things to do? We only publish reviews of books, films, albums and comics that we've enjoyed to some degree. This is no reflection of the publisher's providing review copy.


American Life in Poetry: Column 240


We haven’t shown you many poems in which the poet enters another person and speaks through him or her, but it is, of course, an effective and respected way of writing. Here Philip Memmer of Deansboro, N.Y., enters the persona of a young woman having an unpleasant experience with a blind date.

The Paleontologist’s Blind Date

You have such lovely bones, he says,
holding my face in his hands,

and although I can almost feel
the stone and the sand

sifting away, his fingers
like the softest of brushes,

I realize after this touch
he would know me

years from now, even
in the dark, even

without my skin.
Thank you, I smile—

then I close the door
and never call him again.

American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. Poem copyright ©2008 by Philip Memmer, whose most recent book of poetry is Lucifer: A Hagiography, Lost Horse Press, 2009. Poem reprinted from Threat of Pleasure, Word Press, 2008, by permission of Philip Memmer and the publisher. The introduction’s author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006. We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.


What We've Been Reading


I'd always meant to read Paul Auster, but somehow I'd never gotten around to it before now. So I feel somewhat ill-equipped to write about Invisible,his forthcoming (and fifteenth) novel. The power of the book lies in its structure: it's divided into four sections, each of which tell part of the tale of Adam Walker, who, as a college student in 1967 gets entangled with Born, a creepy, charismatic professor, and his girlfriend, Margot. Decades later, Adam enlists an old friend to help him write his memories of that time. The plot itself feels intentionally melodramatic, but the way the story gets refracted through Adam's shattered perspective makes it a satisfying exploration of the functions of memory and the nature of authorship. With just the right amount of suspense and a surplus of sexual energy, Invisible shows what happens when the character in a coming-of-age story grows up to find he still can't make sense of the defining experiences of his youth.


InDigest Picks

Eating the Dinosaurby Chuck Klosterman [Scribner]
+ Another collection of essays from the master of personal musings on pop culture. Klosterman's wit and subtlety are unparalleled. In Eating the Dinosaur he tackles Garth Brooks, voyeurism, why people inevitably hate their favorite bands newest album, Mad Men, Rivers Cuomo and much more.

Look at the Birdie: Unpublished Short Fictionby Kurt Vonnegut [Delacorte Press]
+ More fiction from Vonnegut. Shouldn't have to say much more than that. Get your fill. I don't think they'll be a treasure trove of unpublished works surfacing any time soon.

The Red Bookby C.G. Jung [W.W. Norton]
+ Consistently hailed as the most influential psychological work that has never been published, Jung's elusive Red Book is finally going to see light. Jung worked on this fever dream for years. As a Dante-esque fantastical parable it mirrors of the evolution of Jungian thought. This could either be a huge let down to Jungians or this could be the biggest release of the decade in psychology.

Other Notable Releases: Noir by Brian Azzarello, To Try Men's Souls: A Novel of George Washington and the Fight for American Freedom by Newt Gingrich, The Museum of Innocence by Orhan Pamuk

Fire Exit: A Poemby Robert Kelly [Black Widow Press]
+ Black Widow, among others, is asserting that this flourishing book length poem will be one of the major works of Robert Kelly's 50+ years as a notable poet. Kelly is a prolific and established poet whose every work deserves some consideration. As usual, no exception. Check out some video of Kelly reading at the St. Marks Poetry Project in the meantime.

Flight of the Conchords - I Told You I Was Freaky[Sub Pop]
+ New Zealeand's biggest export is releasing I Told You I Was Freaky, a collection of jams from the second season of their hit HBO TV series. Some of the best tracks: "Too Many Dicks [On the Dancefloor]," "You Don't Have to Be a Prostitute."

Atlas Sound - Logos[Kranky]
+ Bradford Cox's not-Deerhunter band releases their second LP, and it's great.
When Cox steps from behind the layers nostalgia-inducing feedback (Deerhunter) there is a more sensitive (but not too sensitive) side to his songwriting that can even touch something a little country-western (kind of) and it's a beautiful thing. In my mind teh current trajectory of Atlas sound eclipses Deerhunter in a big way.

Cox is currently starting a tour with Athens, GA based Selmanaires as his backing band (they also open and are worth catching if you're debating arriving late).

Other notable releases: Alec Ounsworth - Mo Beauty, Converge - Axe to Fall, Do Make Say Think - Other Truths, Excepter - Black Beach, Sufjan Stevens - The BQE Soundtrack

Night & Day (Hong Sang-Soo) [B.O.M. Film]
+ This glacial South Korean film follows painter Sung-nam after he is forced to flee South Korea on a drug charge. He lives on the edge in Paris. Never sure where his next meal is coming from (or that seems to be the premise, though he does alright). He balances his new working class lifestyle as an immigrant, with nightly phone calls from his wife back home, and his new-found love of a Korean art student studying in Paris. The film can be a little heavy handed at times. Striving to drive home the duality that has found it's way into Sung-nam's life. Or maybe it's just finally surfacing. The cinematography won't remind you of any of the other major names in South Korean cinema with their smooth round edges and over saturated lens. The picture is gritty and often quite dark. Yet, for all it's flaws it's a beautiful study of human infidelity and the short-sighted ways in which we forget what family means.

Night & Day opens Friday at Anthology Film Archives in New York. Potentially (and hopefully) hitting other cities soon.

Anti-Christ (Lars Von Trier) [Zentropa Films]
+ The Knowns: It's a striking, beautiful film. It'll get you thinking. It's a little nauseating, at times. This is one of the fall's must see films. The Unknowns: Will you throw up? (You wouldn't be the first.) Will the Oscars finally acknowledge Lars Von Trier's existence? How many people will actually go see a film with on-screen genital mutilation? (My guess? Fewer than are interested in flying robots from out space.) The film already feels as though it's the most talked about film of the fall. And that's no easy feat considering the subject matter covered in the film and the various ways it could turn people of all demographics off simply through it's grotesque scenes.

One last thing. Their campaign that almost was. Twitter posts the last few days from friend of a friend (etc.): "If you loved Bright Star and can only see one more film this year. Make it Anti-Christ." ...Don't believe the hype.

Other Notable Releases: Amelia (Mira Nair), Ong-Bak 2 (Tony Jaa Panna Rittikra), Rembrandt's J’Accuse (Peter Greenaway)

Fados(Carlos Saura) [Zeitgeist Films]
+ Carlos Saura is a master of the cinematic arts and has never received adequate attention. Despite special screenings of Fados at a number of galleries around the US and a theatrical premiere, not enough people ventured out to see the newest work by one of the masters. (And can I just throw out that his Blood Wedding is one of the greatest things to ever happen on film?) Well, now there is no excuse.

Other Notable Releases: Cheri (Stephen Frears), Howards End (James Ivory) [Criterion Edition], Paris 1919 (Paul Cowan)

Celebrating Peanuts: 60 Yearsby Charles Schultz [Simon & Schuster/Andrew McMeel Publishing]
+ Because you think you look too snooty with just a copy of The Complete New Yorker cartoons sitting on your book shelf, if for no other reason.

The Book of Genesis Illustrated by R. Crumb [W.W. Norton]
+ R.Crumbs literal translation of the first book of the Bible in a graphic form has stirred the pot a bit. Crumb has maintained that it is a literal translation. His words can be translated as there is sex and violence, which the naysayers seem to want to deny exists in the Bible. (That's all there is in the Bible.) It's really a ringing endorsement that more than a few Holy Men have found offense in what looks to be one of Crumb's weirder endeavors.

Other Notable Releases: Batman: Streets of Gotham #5, Blackest night: Superman #3, Dark Avengers #10, Dark Reign The List: The Hulk (one shot), Dark Wolverine #79, The Invincible Iron Man #19, Punisher Noir #3, Skrull Kill Krew #5 (of 5), Vigilante #11


Hell Yes Dispatch: Call For Submissions! We Want to Know What Love Is!

Our friends over at Hell Yes Press are looking for some lovely submissions. Check out the call below and heed the warning. Which sounds right, but I'm not sure if there is really a warning anywhere here. Don't eay Mayo straight from the jar. You'll have a heart attack.

In your life, has there been heartache and pain? Well, now you can put it to good use!

Hell Yes is seeking work that explores relationships -- relationships that exist between people, between people and animals, possessions, inanimate objects, works of art, and/or other possibilities. We want work that tackles the shifting nexuses of bonds and ties.

But, really, let’s cut the shit: we are looking for love (poems) in all the wrong places. Please email us yours at hellyespress@gmail.com (subject: love poems) for consideration in this forthcoming anthology. Submission deadline to break hearts is Feb 14, 2010.

Happy, sad, or confused, get in the mood and send us some poems.

American Life in Poetry: Column 239


It’s likely that if you found the original handwritten manuscript of T. S. Eliot’s groundbreaking poem, “The Waste Land,” you wouldn’t be able to trade it for a candy bar at the Quick Shop on your corner. Here’s a poem by David Lee Garrison of Ohio about how unsuccessfully classical music fits into a subway.

Bach in the DC Subway

As an experiment,
The Washington Post
asked a concert violinist—
wearing jeans, tennis shoes,
and a baseball cap—
to stand near a trash can
at rush hour in the subway
and play Bach
on a Stradivarius.
Partita No. 2 in D Minor
called out to commuters
like an ocean to waves,
sang to the station
about why we should bother
to live.

A thousand people
streamed by. Seven of them
paused for a minute or so
and thirty-two dollars floated
into the open violin case.
A café hostess who drifted
over to the open door
each time she was free
said later that Bach
gave her peace,
and all the children,
all of them,
waded into the music
as if it were water,
listening until they had to be
rescued by parents
who had somewhere else to go.

American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. Poem copyright ©2008 by David Lee Garrison, whose most recent book of poems is Sweeping the Cemetery: New and Selected Poems, Browser Books Publishing, 2007. Poem reprinted from Rattle, Vol. 14, No. 2, Winter 2008, by permission of David Lee Garrison and the publisher. Introduction copyright © 2009 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction’s author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006. We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.