Marlon James' New Book Reviewed in the New York Times

InDigest's friend Marlon James' new book The Book of Night Women got a great review in the New York Times today.

"Marlon James’s second novel is both beautifully written and devastating...Writing in the spirit of Toni Morrison and Alice Walker but in a style all his own, James has conducted an experiment in how to write the unspeakable — even the unthinkable. And the results of that experiment are an undeniable success."

Now go buy it. And if you're in Minnesota go see him read at Common Good Books on March 31.


Sad News: Poet and Essayist Bill Holm Dies at 65

Very sad news out of Minnesota today. We have lost, in my opinion, one of our truly great American voices; the poet and essayist Bill Holm died at the too-young age of 65. He has been placed in the tradition laid down by Whitman and Twain by his Minnesota literary compatriots Emilie Buchwald and Garrison Keillor, among others, and held that place firm and strong.

I was lucky enough, as the events coordinator of Common Good Books in St. Paul, Minnesota to host Bill on a couple of different occasions. He truly was one of my literary heroes and to meet him in person was to see before you someone who understood what it meant to live life and to enjoy all that life had to offer, from pianos to politics to poetry (though, I suppose "enjoy" isn't exactly the right word for how he felt about most current politics. Maybe "engaged fully" would be a more apt phrase.)

I still have on my phone a message from Bill calling to get his "marching orders" for one of the readings we were doing at the bookstore; I just listened to it yesterday, in fact. And once again I saved it. Just as I will do the next time my phone gives me the option of either deleting or saving the voice calling me from Minneota, Minnesota, asking for his marching orders.

"This time, as so often
before, Death snatched a big one
when we could not stand to lose
his voice that spoke, not alone,
but for us millions who longed
for a world green, alive, about to bloom."

(from "Paul Wellstone - October 25, 2002" a poem by Bill Holm)

Read obituaries from The Minneapolis Star Tribune and Minnesota Public Radio, and a remembrance from Garrison Keillor.


Dorothea Lasky Added to May 1207 Reading!!!

We are happy to announce that Dorothea Lasky will be reading at the May 1207 reading with Jennifer L. Knox.

A little about Dorothea:
Dorothea Lasky is the author of AWE (Wave Books, 2007) and Black Life (Wave Books, 2010). Her chapbooks include Tourmaline (Transmission Press, 2008), The Hatmaker's Wife (Braincase Press, 2006), Art (H_NGM_N Press, 2006), and Alphabets and Portraits (Anchorite Press, 2005). She has been educated at Washington University, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, and Harvard University. Currently, she studies creativity and education at the University of Pennsylvania.

Indigest 1207
May 6, 2009
Dorothea Lasky
Jennifer L. Knox

6pm doors | 7pm reading

Also read Jess Grover's review of Lasky's most recent book Awe in his Is That Cowardly? column.


New InDigest Up Now!

Dear Readers,

Hopefully you've had time to get through all of the great work that was in our anniversary issue, because now we have even more outstanding poetry, art, reviews, and short fiction for you in our first issue of 2009.

For those of you in New York we're excited to also tell you about our new reading series in the art gallery space of (le) Poisson Rouge in New York's historic Greenwich Village. On March 4th, InDigest 1207 will take place for the third time (it happens the first Wednesday of every month). The first two were great, and we expect this one to be as well. We will be welcoming the poets Jibade-Khalil Huffman and Paul Dickinson (bios below). And if that's not enough, there will be free absinthe tasting from 6pm-7pm, just to get you in the right mood.

Now, the latest issue!

Mackenzie Epping takes us on disorienting trips through Germany and Nashville in "Auslaender" and "Nashville."

Mandy Herrick's "Bob Dylan's Cell Phone" and "They Say."
mumbling incessantly,
while thrown down the throat of the barrell,
ready for the trigger to lurch and smile
and say, can you hear me?

Kate Casanova's sculptures, inspired by social materials, those that are readily found in everyday life. These manufactured materials blend with natural forms to create otherly worlds, thought objects and new meaning.

Non-fiction is the focus this month as Bedside Stacks looks at the oddities of the English Language and turn of the century sideshows.

Part III of The Ulysses Sage (Tips 'n Tricks) takes the potential reader through the hooks and hang ups of Joyce's madness.

InDigest 1207
Jibade-Khalil Huffman was born in Detroit and raised in Florida. His poetry, fiction and photography have appeared in Boston Review, Court Green, NOON, Aufgabe, and Encyclopedia, among others. Educated at Bard College and Brown University, his awards include the Grolier Poetry Prize and fellowships from the Millay Colony for the Arts and the Ucross Foundation. "19 Names For Our Band" is his first book.

Paul D. Dickinson is a poet based in Minneapolis/ St. Paul. His work has appeared in City Pages, The St. Paul Pioneer Press, Request.com, and Conduit. Dickinson has read on Minnesota Public Radio, 93.7 "The Edge", KFAI, and 89.3 "The Current". He currently hosts the "Riot Act Reading Series" , a cutting edge literary event that features national and international writers. His latest spoken word CD is "Lord Byron Gets Busted" on Speedboat Records . He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from UMASS Amherst.

As always, thanks for reading.

David and Dustin,

InDigest is currently looking for design and editorial interns. If interested, for more information email Dustin at dlukenelson [at] gmail [dot] com and/or David at doody01 [at] gmail [dot] com.

If you'd like to support InDigest, here are a couple ways: forward this email to other people like you (you know, intelligent and good looking) or make a donation, money or office equipment. Email us at indigestmag [at] gmail [dot] com if you are interested.

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Paul Dickinson to Read at March 1207

We've just added Paul Dickinson (from Electric Arc Radio) to the March reading!!!! Awesome!!!

Other upcoming readings:
April 1st: Deb Olin Unferth
May 6th: Jennifer Knox
June 3rd: Rodrigo Toscano's Collapsible Poetics Theater


March 1207

The March installment of InDigest 1207 is going to be very special, so don't miss the next reading. We have a reading from Jibade-Khalil Huffman and a special author TBA. But, on top of that, we are going to have a free absinthe tasting from 6-7pm.

Free drinks and a reading?

Can't beat that.

InDigest 1207 presents
Jibade-Khalil Huffman & TBA

6pm absinthe tasting
7pm reading
at (Le) Poisson Rouge
158 Bleecker St.


Feb. 4th, 1207

A big thanks to Meakin Armstrong and Erica Wright and everyone who came down to (Le) Poisson Rouge on Wednesday.

In InDigest 1207 we ask readers to, along with their own work, bring in some pieces by other writers who have influenced them and read those as well. Just like the last reading, we're going to make it a habit of ours to post what the readers read up here. So here you are:

Meakin Armstrong read two selections from Padgett Powell's novel Edisto.

Erica Wright read from James Wright's Selected Poems (edited by Robert Bly and Anne Wright).


Tonight @ InDigest 1207

Don't forget to come down to (Le) Poisson Rouge tonight for InDigest 1207.

Tonight features fiction writer Meakin Armstrong and poet Erica Wright. There are drinks to be had, no admission to be paid, and words to be heard. 6pm doors and 7pm reading.

See you tonight.

Newbery Medal Awarded to Neil Gaiman

This year's Newbery Medal was awarded yesterday to Neil Gaiman for his children's novel The Graveyard Book. Gaiman, talking about the honor said:

I never really thought of myself as a Newbery winner. It’s such a very establishment kind of award, in the right kind of way, with the world of librarians pointing at the book saying, ‘This is worthy of the ages.’ And I’m so very used to working in, and enjoying working in, essentially the gutter.

Read more about this from The Associated Press.


The Anniversary of Ulysses

Today is the anniversary of the original publication of James Joyce's Ulysses. I'm not sure what kind of celebration you have on a day like today. Bloomsday is a ways off still. Maybe you should read the book. Maybe it's a little too long and you'd prefer to read the NYT Paper Cuts blog entry about the anniversary. Or maybe you'd rather the first and second installment of The Ulysses Sage at InDigest in preparation for the soon to be released third column.

The Rise of Self-Publishing

The New York Times had an interesting article, this past week, on the rise of the self publishing industry. It outlines how this industry has contributed to the boom in the number of books published every year, and how the profits of these companies have shot through the roof. 

I, of course, believe that, in a significant way, the future of the literary magazine will be found online, it maybe hasn't reached it's full potential. But, in many ways, where the literary magazine goes, is where a segment of the industry will go. Maybe it's a narrow-minded view, based on me working with InDigest, but I frequently think about the future of publishing in terms of what the internet has to offer literature. I don't often think about self-publishing as a modicum of the future of the industry. Yet, this is certainly something that has gained prominence, and affordability, through the internet. But what does this offer the industry at large? A much larger number of books to compete with? A new avenue for authors to get their work seen? A larger pile of crap for the readers of the world to wade through?

My initial reaction to this article was largely the same as the author of the article. It's interesting that this attracts so many writers and artists, but it doesn't really offer a lot in terms of excitement for it's future as an art form. I would never go to a site that offers self-published books looking for something to read. But maybe I'm missing something here, maybe there is some validity in this development, but I'm still not seeing it.

It's an interesting development and it's worth thinking about.